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in our systems. while there is always more work to do, our aviation system is now stronger and more resilient. we have a far better idea who is seeking to or aircraft to the united states area and we have improved security measures at home and abroad to make sure we are focused on those who seek to do us harm. of course, not all threats result from terrorism or violent behavior. some come from mother nature and the impact can be just as severe if not more so. over the past 4.5 years, our nation has faced hundreds of disasters including hurricane irene which happens when multiple states were already doing with historic floods, making a bad situation even worse. we confronted deadly tornadoes in joplin, missouri, tuscaloosa, alabama, and moore, oklahoma. today, as we find ourselves every summer, we are fighting
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devastating wildfires in the western states, particularly california. as with our counterterrorism efforts, we two important lessons from each of these events, most notably -- we built upon the lessons of hurricane katrina to put us in the best possible position to support the response to a major hurricane and make sure that response would be fast, flexible, and comprehensive. we understood the importance of pre-positioning mass quantities of assets before the storm so they will be quickly available to those in need. we recognize the value of early outreach to governors, mayors, and emergency managers so everyone knows the plan and how to execute. we incorporated rate assessed or declarations into our planning some localities would have the funds they need to make reparations and pay for overtime for police and first responders.
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we understood the role of organizations like the red cross, the salvation army, and others who are so essential in providing support to survivors as well as federal partners like the department of defense. in short, we knew we needed to engage the whole community in all phases of emergency management. when hurricane sandy threatened the united states in late october, 2012, we had a plan, we had people in place, and we have resources at the ready. sandy was the most damaging storm to strike the united states since katrina which made landfall eight years ago just this week. sandy can assure and the most densely populated region of our country. it damaged or destroyed more than 650,000 homes costing more than it did billion dollars in losses and affecting 24 states. it's tropical storm force winds
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could be felt for 1000 miles, blizzards hit north carolina and west virginia, and dumping up to three feet of snow and the storm's effects extended as far west as wisconsin. in all, sandy took more than 70 lives in the united states. sandy also affected some of our nation's key financial systems and left a large part of new york city without power for more than one week. our posture in the response to this epic storm was to lean forward in our preparations, surge assets and people into the disaster zones as quick as possible and streamline the system's to the victims and cut red tape and find solutions to problem's when they arose. before the storm hits, fema teams had and the floyd -- had been deployed are activated in several states. we supplied water, food, blankets and essential supplies at strategic locations along the east coast and the president provided emergency declarations
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for 12 states freeing up federal resources. after the storm passed, fema sent teams into the impacted areas to set up disaster registration centers and conduct damage assessment. the coast guard immediately conducted search and rescue. for the first time, we activated the dhs surge capacity force and all -- an all volunteer corps that we created in 2011 to leverage the share talents and experiences and capabilities of employees from across the department. hundreds of employees from ths components like tsa came to new york and new jersey come many of them living on merchant marine vessels in new york harbor for weeks as they provided assistance to people and their families in the affected area. these and other dhs elements contributed to the strong, coordinated response to sandy.
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when we encountered a snag or problem, we moved quickly to address it and come up with an appropriate solution. when fuel ships could not enter new york harbor because of debris in the water, we deployed the coast guard to clear a navigation channel. when fuel supplies began to run low, we waived the jones act to allow ships from other u.s. ports to bring in their supplies to increase fuel availability. similarly, when the utility struggle to get power back on, we worked with the defense department and are private sector partners to flight teams and assets from as far as california to help bring those systems back online. the collective response to sandy reflects an emergency management system that is swift and
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flexible, adaptable and united. it has made all the difference in our ability to speed resources to impacted areas, identify survivor needs, and help communities recover and rebuild. that said, every disaster by nature is an imperfect and challenging event. we know there are still many who are putting their lives and communities back together after sandy. in any disaster or crisis, there are always challenges, problems arise, the unexpected happens. our work on the east coast is far from done. flexibility and agility are not only about being operational. sometimes, they are about establishing commonsense policies and priorities, using the resources you have. when i became secretary in 20 -- in 2009, 1 of my first actions was to ensure that we set the right priority for one of the departments most important missions -- protecting our borders and enforcing our immigration laws.
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over the past 4.5 years, we have invested historic resources to prevent illegal cross-border activity area because of these investments and manpower and technology and infrastructure, our borders are now better staffed and better protected than at any time in our nations history. it illegal crossings have dropped to 40-year lows. we also set commonsense immigration priorities with a focus on criminals, national security and public safety threats, repeat offenders, and egregious emigration file leaders. last year, we remote more serious criminals from the united states than at any time in our history. we strengthened our work to combat transnational criminal organizations including those that commit cyber crime and financial fraud, violate international property and prey upon human life.
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as part of our effort, we established the dhs loop campaign to unify the departments work to fight the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. while important, we still need to make sure that future changes we needed to make further changes to create a more flexible, fair, and focused emigration system. we instructed our immigration agents and officers to use their discretion under current law to not pursue low priority immigration cases. like children brought to the united states illegally by their parents. children brought here for no fault of their own and you know no other country as their home. congress had a chance to give the so-called dreamers a way to stay in our country through the dream act but, unfortunately, that legislation failed to garner the 60 votes needed for cloture, falling five votes short despite strong by service bipartisan support. in june of last year, i use my
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discretion to create deferred action for childhood arrivals, daca, a process that gives young people who meet the strict rick -- criteria legal status to remain in the united states. in just its first year, over half a million individuals have requested deferred action. after a thorough review of each of those cases, including a background check, 400 30,000 requests have already been approved -- 430,000 requests have already been approved. daca is no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform which is the only way to face the long-standing problems with their immigration system. it is indicative of our larger approach, to devote historic resources to the border, reorient our enforcement
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priorities, and build more flexibility into the system. i believe we are a stronger, more effective department because of these changes. i am proud of era compliments and the men and women across dhs who made them possible. i am proud of how far we have come over the past 4.5 years. i am proud to have played a role in guiding the department to a more mature and stable state of operations. dhs is more focused, capable, and adaptable and we are prepared to confront and even greater range of threats. when i look at the amazing local response to the boston marathon bombing, hurricane sandy and less well-known incidents, i see the tremendous payoff for our nations investment over the past decade.
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that is not to say our work is done. far from it. many things still need tending and my successor will most certainly have a full plate on his or her hands. perhaps the best place to end my remarks today is by giving him or her some advice. a kind of open letter to my successor -- in this letter, i will tell the new secretary that you will confront everything i have discussed today -- the evolving threat of terrorism, devastating natural disasters, and the need for strong border security and immigration enforcement. you will need to forge strong relationships with all of our partners including congress, to make sure dhs has the resources it needs to meet our responsibilities to the american people. you will need to continue our work to move to a more risk based intelligence driven community system. as we have done at our airports with her grams like tsa pre- check and global entry which expedite known travelers through
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security and customs. you will need to support science and technology research, building on the more than 2.2 ellie and dollars we have invested over the past 4.5 years to strengthen chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear security measures. you will need to continue to recapitalize the coast guard so it can meet its ever-growing mission. you will need to continue to ensure the security of key government leaders in events of national significance. and you will face new challenges that we have begun to address but that need further attention. our country will for example at some point face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, economy, and the everyday functioning of our society. we have the old systems reductions in a framework to
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identify at tax and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across the government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, or must be done and must be done quickly. you will also have to prepare for the increasingly likelihood of more weather-related events of a more severe nature as a result of climate change. and continue to build the capacity to respond to potential disasters in far-flung regions of the country that could occur at the same time. and you must continue to integrate the department. what i have referred to as dhs 3.0 and leave it into its next data development am a to challenging fiscal times, including the ongoing impact of the sequester. you will need a large bottle of advil. [laughter] now, some have said be the secretary of dhs is the most thankless job in washington. that is not true.
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no doubt, it is a very big and comics job. it is literally a 24/7 job, that as my successor will soon learn, it is also one of the most rewarding jobs there is. what you do hear matters to the lives of people all across our great nation him and your decisions affect them in direct and tangible ways. you make sure their families are safe from terrorist threats, that their local first responders have equipment and training and funding, and that when disaster strikes people who have lost everything are given food and shelter and hope. and that thanks for that is not owed any single individual or cabinet secretary, but to that 240,000 dhs employees, many of whom work in tough conditions around the clock to accomplish our shared and noble mission, and that includes some who have made the ultimate sacrifice for
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our country. they are the backbone of your nation's homeland security, and over the past 4 1/2 years, it has been my pleasure to serve with them and build a more agile department of homeland security. i thank them, and i thank all of you. god bless you, and god bless the united states. thank you.[applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> at the white house today,
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press secretary, jay carney, answered questions from reporters on the violence in syria and a possible u.s. response. here is more on that. so i am clear, the white house has decided they must respond. does that mean there must be a military response or are there other things possibly on the agenda? could it be further sanctions are economic in any way? is this a military response? next verse, we have made clear for a long time, notwithstanding our views about the fact that we do not envision u.s. boots on the ground in syria, that we retain and the president retains all options available to him in syria. options.udes military that is the case here in response to this transgression. a decision about the use of military force has not been made. the president is reviewing his
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options, plural. obviously, his options are many and may include possibilities that are not limited to the use of force. >> another thing i wanted to ask you about, you say that the comes the united states to this decision, the syrian government is responsible for this attack because they have the rockets to deliver it and there is no evidence -- are we sure there is no evidence they have lost any control of a stock of weapons? there has not been a chemical deep postsomewhere -- somewhere that has been overrun rebels?eda >> we have a high degree of confidence, based on our assessments, that to the syrian regime has maintain full control of its chemical weapon stockpiles throughout this conflict. it is our conviction that the syrian regime has the rocket
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capability that was deployed to devastating effect in this chemical weapons attack. it is abundantly obvious to those who have covered this conflict, who were covering it last week, to the international organizations present on the ground, that the syrian regime engaged in an effort to clear these particular regions of forces with violence prior to the use of chemical weapons. in the immediate aftermath of use of chemical weapons, they prevented a u.s. inspections team from going in to establish what weapons had been used. they continue to do that yesterday after the u.n. inspection team, after finally being attacked, was able to make it to one area that they needed to visit. after they left, they continue to bombard the area. >> one more, if i could.
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if the aim here is to make sure or punished the syrian government for using chemical and to discourage them from using them again, that are those that argue the best way to do that is to, in fact, take out assad. what is the argument against that from the white house? earlier, the options that are being -- do not are not contain within them a regime change focus. that is not what we are contemplating here. we are examining options. -- examining options to respond to this violation. this is obviously a terrible conflict that has exacted a horrific price on the syrian people and the region. it is ongoing. we have stepped up our support
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for the opposition and our humanitarian support, dealing with the refugee crisis related to the syrian conflict. the use of chemical weapons on is acale that we saw separate and distinct facts that needs to be responded to. be responded to in some form because the president believes that many of our allies and partners clearly believe him as i stated earlier, and i understated the number of nations that participated in the chemical weapons convention -- it is 189, about 90% of the global population, all had a stake in ensuring that international norm is maintained and respected. a flagrant violation that has resulted in mass death, the killing of innocent women and children, has to be responded to. >> i understand. my question is, what is the
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response -- is the way to do -- is too bring prevent it from happening again is to take out the guy who is doing it, why not do that? >> it is not our position. it is not our policy position to respond to this through regime change. we will take ever -- we will take an appropriate response. the president and his team are evaluating the options available to him. the president will make an assessment and an announcement in due time. we also maintain a policy with regards to the conflict which has us providing significant support to the opposition. humanitarian support to the people. it is designed to bring about a transition in syria, a political transition that will allow syria the future that its people deserves. >> i don't think you are answering the why.
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>> it is not our policy to respond to this transgression with a regime change. portion of today's briefing. you can see the entire event at tonight, a panel of civil rights leaders recall the civil rights movement and how things have changed. tonight, youakers can see that event live tonight tomorrow,span -- president obama attends a ceremony at the lincoln memorial. it does she will be joined by former presidents, bill carton and -- bill clinton and jimmy carter. the sermon is live tomorrow at
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.1:00 eastern, also on c-span a discussion on the political future of egypt and relations with the u.s. it is a little more than one hour. >> good morning. welcome to the national press club. i woulde get started, like to go over a few housekeeping roles. silenceaven't already your phone, could you please do so at this time? conferenceis a press -type for him. it will be approximately one hour. each speaker will talk for five
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to 10 minutes. then there'll be a queuing day. they are limited to the members of the presidential press and the press club. when you are called upon, please state your question clearly. we will be repeating it here at the mike for our television audience. also, state your name and your affiliation and keep your questions brief. we want to get as many questions as possible. is the national press club's newsmaker event on the crisis in egypt. the world has been looking on. it seems that egypt's democracy is unraveling. what we are seeing today is not unlike what we saw in 2011 with violence and bloodshed which ousted the current president then, mubarak. seems toappening now
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be very similar with the violence and bloodshed. once again, under heavy protest, the new president has also been ousted. he is also a member of the muslim brotherhood. so, what will happen in egypt now? to recaptureable their democracy? should the u.s. be involved, and if so, how? toay, we are quite honored have very special speakers with us who are well renowned in the area of the egypt and middle east. to my right.ker is he is the executive director of the project of middle east democracies. steve has a masters from stanford and also has graduate studies in middle east politics, history, and the arabic language from the university in beirut and the american university in cairo. his work can be found among many
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publications, including foreign- policy, the new republic, and the washington post. his work has also been seen on jazeera, and cbs. the second speaker on my right a senior fellow and the director of the savon middle east policy institution. includes being deputy assistant secretary of affairsr it'll eastern from november 2006 -- i am sorry, from november 2009 to january two thousand 12. january 2012.d --
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she coordinated the policy for human rights in the state department. the middleo overseen east partnership initiative, and was assigned as deputy special coordinator for middle east transitions. also essential in the u.s. government's response to the arab awakening and author of freedom's unsteady role in arabica's democracy." end isrd speaker at the michelle. she is vice president at the atlantic council. she is the director of the council's center for
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middle east. her prior work also includes being a senior associate at the carnegie endowment for international peace. she is a professor at georgetown and a middle east specialist at the united states state department. while at the state department, she assumed many roles and assignments, including director of middle east and africa, u.s. embassy in egypt, the national security staff. she is also the u.s. secretary of states policy planning staff member. the u.s. consulate general to jerusalem and she also was with the bureau of intelligence and research. see, we have a wonderful team of experts here who are going to answer our questions on what is happening in egypt. warm themld help me
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with a nice applause. [applause] >> thank you. few going to start with a brief thoughts about where we are in egypt today and a few words about what we might expect in the months ahead. to begin with in terms of where we are in egypt, in many respects we are witnessing what seems to be and i dashed to be a return to authoritarianism and the old state dominated by a .ecurity apparatus for decades for many of us who had hoped in early 2011 that the uprising and revolution in egypt would lead a democracy,on to to accountable government that
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respects the rights of egypt's citizens, this has been very deeply disappointing. i will briefly describe the current scene and delete with a few thoughts about what we might what we might see in the time ahead. egypt hasnalysis in described three main groups of political actors. the military, and along with the military, the old regime and the national democratic party. the second group, being the muslim brotherhood. the third group being the liberal and more secular political portions. his group has included both political parties and ngos and perhaps most importantly, have been more informal grassroots movements such as the youth which played a leading role in organizing the street protests in 2011 and emerged
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this spring in opposition to president mohamed morsi and his government. what we have often seen is that when two of these three blocks of the military and old regime, the formalists and secularists, we have seen several occasions where two of the three blocks joined forces and forced there will to some degree on the third block. we can cite three or four instances of this. you could describe the revolution in 2011 as sort of the liberal forces joining with the brotherhood to force mubarak from power. soon thereafter, use of the military establishment ally itself with the brotherhood and were able to sort of ignore the
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demands of the liberals. you could describe the presidential election last year in june of 2012 as the liberals, joining forces and supporting mohamed morsi during the second round of presidential elections. many liberals who were skeptical in the brotherhood nonetheless chose to support him over the choice from the old regime. --t recently, we have seen the latest configuration has been the military joining forces with the liberal forces to oust morsi from the presidency. a lot of what we are seeing right now, the military seized this opportunity to regain power and is taking steps to make sure that the other two groups that can no longer ally themselves against the military, and sort of force it from power or force its hand as was done in 2011.
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first and most obviously, the military has been cracking down viciously against the muslim brotherhood. they immediately following the coup on july 3, they arrested many of the leaders of the brotherhood movement and brought charges against them. attacked the supporters of morsi and the brotherhood in the streets. leading to violence in which more than 1000 people were killed including more than 600 in august alone. seen vicious campaigns of propaganda, using the state media against the brotherhood and its supporters. , anding them as traitors we have also seen more recently this defamation campaign, and targeting by the military move beyond the brotherhood and their
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supporters, and start to also attack some of the liberal and secular forces that the military may see as a threat. we have seen several examples of this. what we are seeing is the thatary targeting actors the military intelligence apparatus has seen as troublesome, either currently or in the past. to cite a few examples, mohamed elbaradei was the most prominent liberal politician backing the coup on july 3. he resigned following the massacre on august 14. he was immediately attacked viciously in the media by the military and former regime. charges have now been brought against him for reaching the national trust and he is now in austria staying outside of egypt to avoid prosecution. movement hasouth long been seen as a threat by the military.
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they were seen as instrumental in the 2011 evolution -- revolution. some of the leadership of this movement in recent weeks has been critical of the military, including of the violence that we have seen in the last couple weeks. just a few days ago, we saw the --lic prosecutor in egypt two were under investigation of charges for espionage for receiving foreign funding for activism. becausea note not only it shows the military attacking its critics, but also both of these young women had been supportive of the military actions in the past couple months including supportive of the coup, but nonetheless, we are seeing preemptive actions by the military and the old regime apparatus. not only to take on its current critics, but any that it fears
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may be willing to stand up against it going forward. in addition, there is the community of ngos including human rights organizations, and just in the last three or four days, we have seen egyptian police visit the offices of several international ngos in egypt including human rights organizations to intimidate those organizations. these have been organizations that have been willing to write and speak critically of the military in recent weeks. we have seen several newspapers, articles and egyptian press describingoday, conspiracies in which the united states government, including ambassador harrison -- patterson was working with the brotherhood to smuggle terrorists and extremists into egypt from gaza. representative of a
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widespread disinformation campaign. it is very troubling. egypt andation of ngos in this way i think is feeding on this sort of heightened sense of xenophobia and anti-americanism that we see now in egypt. manynk this is feared by to be sort of a precursor to a widespread crackdown on ngo community including any ngos that the military establishment feels may be critical of them in the months ahead. one final piece i would mention is that labor movements as well, labor movements and social process movements were also seen as instrumental in the 2011 revolution and these social protest movements have continued in recent weeks. someve seen quite recently efforts to crack down upon these movements. also, to defame these movements as tools or instruments of the
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muslim brotherhood, when in reality the brotherhood has very little reach or influence with the labor movements, but we have seen several instances of and labor movements coming under attack. in the press there are statements by the minister of labor attacking the movements as being tools of the brotherhood to sow chaos and undermine the state. i will leave my remarks on the current scene there. i will brief mean -- briefly forion, a process underway amending the constitution, the constitution that was ratified in december and passed by referendum, that was written by the largely predominantly constituent assembly. ofhave seen the release recommendations of a 10 person tomittee that was selected
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make proposed amendments to this constitution and i would say that these amendments are not encouraging for those of us that wish to see democracy emerge in egypt. rather than addressing the flaws but you can point you in the constitution from the perspective of democracy and human rights, it reinforces and has some troubling -- their proposals include troubling of rewriting,sort there are some hints at moving back to were the old regime come including removing the clause in the constitution that forbids senior members of the old ruling party from participating in politics for 10 years. they are recommending that that be removed. there is also some rewriting of language in the constitution about this sort of heroic martyrs of the january revolution. andary 25 has been omitted there is a question of whether they are trying to rewrite and look at june 30 as the
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revolution and this year as the heroic revolution of egypt. think a major question moving forward will be, how long militaryssisi and the are able to maintain their popularity. they have been effective up to now in using state media and information to become extremely popular in the country. will be able to hold together the broad coalition support that they currently enjoy, i would say that they already survived two events that some predicted could fracture support of the military. thet, being the lead use -- use of large-scale violence against protesters. if they used serious violence against citizens of the supporters of mohamed morsi, a lot of the liberal forces that had been supporting them would split away from them. that hasn't really happened. we saw muhamed elbaradei resign,
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but few figures have left the government or splintered the coalition. the second event that many predicted would erode support from the military was the release of former president hosni mubarak from prison. he was released last week and i less of anat has had effect than many expected. we will see in the weeks and months ahead, it is possible that he may be cleared of charges including killing protesters in 2011. i think one major challenge for the military will be the respond to economic pressures, the rising discontent against morsi and his government came in large part from his government's inability to address egypt's economic woes. i think the military -- we have seen signs that they are ready to undertake serious economic reform.
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instead, they are counting on the largess of gulf states to sort of help them hold egypt's economy together. i will leave it there. >> good morning, everyone. thank you for coming. minutesake just a few to talk about the regional politics and regional dynamics surrounding events in egypt and how the positioning of different regional actors may affect the trajectory. let me start by giving you a little context, which is that for decades under mubarak, egypt has played a critical role in regional security and stability. of course, it has got a very geostrategic location sitting on top of the suez canal which carries about seven percent of the world's oil and about 13% of the world's natural gas. the camp david treaty of course
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was a historic event and and anchor of arab-israeli peacemaking. it has prevented ever since, and he ager interstate arab-israeli war. because of all of this, because of this egyptian role in reason -- regional stability, it is no surprise that the governments of the middle east feel a major stake in egypt just as the united states does. mubarak also had a close personal tie to a number of leaders in the states of the arabian peninsula. especially, king abdullah of saudi arabia. mubarak was a key diplomatic partner for those arab states and for the united states, who in the years prior to the arab awakening, presented a sort of coalition on behalf of the current balance of power in the middle east. mubarak was really a linchpin of that diplomatic effort. it is fair to say that the
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monarchies of the gulf were never fully reconciled to me -- to mubarak's paul. they are not comfortable -- to mubarak's fall. but they have good ties with the egyptian military. they have sustained those since january. the rise of the muslim brotherhood troubled these states deeply for a few key reasons. in may, the muslim brotherhood was seen as a threat to this regional order. because of its ideology. the brotherhood was also seen as years,t because over the , which asrhood itself some of you may know, is an organization that has national branches but a shared ideology across these national brotherhood groups. , some produced offshoots
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of which have been quite violent. mas, and over the years in egypt a number of splinter groups off the brotherhood have become significantly troublesome terrorist organizations. brotherhood ideologically and politically also has the effect of challenging the gulf monarchies in their claims to islamic legitimacy for their role. that is one of the reasons why these countries find the brotherhood so threatening. just to give you an example, since 2011 you have seen in the united arab emirates, the arrest and trial of a number of people who were named as members of the brotherhood on charges of incitement, undermining national security and so on. morsi's behavior as president of egypt made these gulf arab states even more anxious, i think. , which i thinkan
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was his first visit abroad as president, the talk of normalizing relationships with iran, his support for hamas, especially relative to support for abbas and the palestinian authority, economic mismanagement of egypt under morsi as steve noted, was a real problem. in economic mismanagement egypt, because it is so large and because it has been a commercial center and a banking center for a lot of the middle east for a long time, a manufacturing hub, a distribution hub for a lot of businesses that sell around the region, the economic situation in egypt has significant implications for the rest of the region. morsi'sis telling me first visit was to saudi arabia, not iran. thank you. then, of course, morsi's tense relationship with the egyptian
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military, which as we saw in all the reporting that has come out since july, grew more and more tense. on gulf monarchies cheered the military ouster of mubarak on july 3, and rewarded it with a good deal of financial assistance. i think it is important to recognize that that financial assistance is not all cash that the egyptian government can't spend. a lot of it represents every deposits in the central bank which are important in helping egypt to send the value of its goods liked and fund food and flour and energy. but this isn't all money that the egyptian government can spend for national development. let me spend a few minutes on israel and then i want to leave you with two broad points. i think many of the attitudes that i described the arab
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governments as holding might be shared by a number of israelis. i think the primary characteristic that you can see in the israeli government in its approach toward egypt since the 2011 revolution is ambivalence. they have been very ambivalent about change in egypt. at bottom, they had very close and cooperative the egyptian with military and the intelligence services. hosni mubarak was an interlocutor that they knew. riddicks a degree of ability and reliability although it was never warm. the ties between egyptian security apparatus and the israeli security apparatus have been sustained. think they are stronger today than they have ever been. they were quite strong even under president morsi. soughtaeli government closer diplomatic and political
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ties with president morsi, but they were robust. despite that, i think they were at least a little bit reassured by morsi's behavior in november of 2012 when he made himself and his government the guarantor of the cease-fire between israel and hamas that ended the gaza crisis. israel today, however, looks at the change of government in cairo and says this is a group of people we know and can work with. two broader points to live you with. i think thatthat, the sentiments i'm describing among governments around the region with respect to what is happening in egypt suggests a real divergence with perspectives here in washington and the policy of the u.s. administration. it is a divergence that goes beyond egypt itself. it is a divergence and analysis of the region, of what has
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happened in the region over the last two years. of what has been the source of instability. the united states, as president obama said in may 2011, sees that there have been underlying social and economic changes in the arab world that had led to demands for more sponsor of government. seniorernment and many officials have said they don't believe stability will return to the middle east until governments are more transparent, responsible, responsive, accountable. in other words, more democratic. i think that many of the governments i have been talking about see things rather differently. they see the demand for democratization coming from below as a source of instability. it has made them wary about taking even limited steps toward domestic reform themselves for fear that if you give people an inch, they will demand a mile. i think that this is presenting
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an increasing challenge for the united states and its diplomacy in the region. last point to leave you with is about sinai. i think this is the space to watch. when you look at the potential regional threats that could emerge from the events today in egypt. sinai is where you were going to see it manifest. as i said, egyptian-israeli security cooperation is very strong, but the security situation in sinai has deteriorated markedly since 2011. it has deteriorated because at first, the egyptian police were simply absent from the scene in the wake of the canterbury revolution. then, because the egyptian military during its. --direct rule and again now during its period of direct rule and again now, has been required to focus so many of its resources and so much of its attention on domestic order that it doesn't have the same level
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of resources and attention devoted to maintaining security in sinai. di groups in sinai have grown bolder. they are growing -- working very hard to draw forces into some kind of direct confrontation. incredibly complex and combustible situation. the longer is that the current political crisis in egypt goes on, the longer that egypt finds its the mystic situation destabilized by this standoff. the more we will see you those ands of jihadi groups others taking advantage, and the more egypt's domestic instability will produce instability in the region. thank you very much.
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>> good morning. i am michele dunne from the center for the middle east plan to cancel. i have -- atlantic council. i have four points that i would like to make about u.s. policy toward egypt at this juncture. need tot point is the look at this in the proper context. was really wayes too passive during the morsi presidency. morsi was a very unsuccessful president, a bread president -- a bad president. he took several undemocratic actions. lastly, passing the constitution, the 2012 constitution over the objections of many egyptians. said and didates very little.
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throughout years of u.s. policy, what the united states has done tosimply stay very close whoever was in power in egypt at the time. mubarak when he was there. the supreme council of the armed forces when they were there. morsi and his advisers when he was there. now, once again, the military backed government. this has led the united states into a real problem. know, in early july at the time of the military coup against morsi, the united states urged, correctly in my view, urged the egyptian government and the egyptian military to solve what had become a serious political problem, a problem of political paralysis and inability to address serious economic issues in the country. the united states urged egypt to address this in a democratic manner and to play out the political game.
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that was not advice that the egyptian military took. they brought things to a conclusion very quickly with a military coup. the united states, i think, subeves that the kind of politics we have seen in egypt are very destabilizing and will weaken the country. the idea during morsi's era that he would not work with other political forces, he would try to run the country with the brotherhood alone which as we see was a failure. the idea now that the brotherhood will be crushed and excluded and so forth. i think that the claims we hear that the united states is trying to weaken egypt, steve made reference to some of these conspiracies and so forth that are circulating, they are actually the opposite of what is true.
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that i thinknt is that if we look at the question of u.s. influence, we need to understand it in the right sizext. we need to write u.s. influence in egypt. i think it is not the case that we can expect threats of cutting off assistance whether small or large military assistance to really cause the egyptian government to reverse course and change its calculations regarding domestic politics. that is probably not going to happen and that is especially true because the united states made what i believe is a mistake, not to observe u.s. law and suspend assistance right at the time of the coup. i think if the united states has done that right at that time, we
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-- the united states would now be in a stronger position. we would be discussing what would be the conditions for resuming aid. i think we are in a situation where the united states didn't respect its own law and so that the ministers respect for the united states. understand.o i don't think that just coming off a little bit of egg here or there is going to fundamentally change the calculations of egypt. these discussions are cutting off aid are not very credible because the united states didn't suspend aid at the moment it should have. my third point is that i think as we try to understand u.s. influence correctly, a lot of people are going to be -- to the absolute absolute -- opposite condition. it is also incorrect.
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tamara mentioned gulf assistance and a lot of people have said, what difference does it make? if the united states would suspend military assistance to egypt when gulf countries are coming in with billions. this is a very superficial understanding of the whole assistance question. egypt has been a country over the last decade that has had very deep and enduring security relationships with the united states. this is not just about dollars and cents. this is about cooperation. it is about shared technology. it is about shared military exercises. egypt made a profound shift in the 1970's from eastern bloc to western block and primarily american doctrine, weapons etc.. withecurity relationship
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the united states and what it means is much bigger than just the dollars and cents of the aid. what the gulf countries can give, yes they can easily give more than $1.3 billion. they cannot replace what that military relationship with the united states offers to egypt militarily and strategically. this is also true economically. egypt has also been a country that has had a great deal of trade, primarily with europe and also the united states. for egypt to shift from a country that has had this security relationship and economic elation ship with a west to a country that no longer has any of that is merely living on the largess of gulf countries , it would be a huge shift for egypt. it is not that dollars and cents
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from the gulf can replace these think that egypt has had. if we are looking at influence, western influence, american, european influence in egypt, it has to do with this much larger relationship and not with how many dollars are being appropriated by the u.s. congress and going to egypt. we need to understand. , how do weoint is think about it now? i think it has become clear that the egyptian government, the military is launched on this , a very unfortunate course and a course that i think will promise much instability in egypt which will in turn make it impossible to address the economic problems because you cannot bring tourism and investment back to the country in an atmosphere of instability. morewill lead to
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instability. we have seen several turns of the wheel with egyptian public opinion. against the mubarak regime, in -- againste staff the scale, in favor of the brotherhood, in favor of the military, who would that that this is the last turn of the wheel? i wouldn't bet on that. has been a very unstable situation in egypt in terms of look sentiment and it will continue to be so. there's going to be more change. how do we think about u.s. policy now? i think that president obama in his remarks to cnn on august 23 has started to take this in the right direction. first of all, there is finally underway a review of u.s. assistance to egypt, an internal review. this is long overdue. at ands are being looked
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many of the programs right now are in effect suspended. although there is no announcement of a suspension to aid. i think the sun -- united states is as it should the, pausing. things that president obama said on august 23, he said there is no doubt we can't return to business as usual given what has happened. august 14rring to the massacre and use of force to clear demonstrations in cairo. he said with egypt, the aid itself may not reverse what the interim government does. but what most americans would say is we have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think are on the contrary to our values and ideals. this is how we need to think about u.s. policy.
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of,s not simply a question can we buy a little bit more, less influence by doing this thing or that thing. we have to really start thinking picture, ager-term broader picture, what is in the best interest of the egyptian people, and also what is in the best interest of the united states? to what extent can the united with thesociate itself actions of the egyptian government in this situation? i will leave it there. thank you. >> thank you to all our speakers. that was wonderful information. we are going to open up the floor for questions. i would like to give each speaker the opportunity to respond to what the other speakers have said. steve, would you like to start? >> i agree with much of what was
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said by both tamara and michele. i would just pick up from the last closing points, first we have to risk -- expect further changes in egypt. we can't know how or when things will change, but it would be unrealistic and foolish after the last few years to assume that change is now done and that we can focus on our relationship with the actors that are now in charge. also, i would just add that united states policy in egypt must fundamentally shift. quoting fromjust president obama's remarks last week. i would agree with her that his
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shifts reflect a positive if they are implemented. i would also add that we have seen remarks from the president and from other high-ranking u.s. officials in the past that would have suggested a shift in u.s. policy that i think would have been some of the right shifts. referenced the speech in may of 2011. in that speech, the president declared that support for democratic principles in the middle east would no longer be a secondary priority. they would be supported by all of the political and strategic and economic tools available to the united states. i think that was exactly the right shift that was needed in the spring of 2011. i think sadly we haven't seen that reflected at all in u.s. policy since then. and i would fear that the remarks last week by president obama might the only a sort of repetition of the administration
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and the president saying the right thing but really being unwilling to back those up by policy changes. if so, i think u.s. policy will continue to fail as it has up till now. >> i will be very brief because i don't have any areas of disagreement with either of my two colleagues. i will just say that i think we have to remember that as we talk about u.s. policy, policy of other regional actors to word egypt, there is an underlying social reality here that drove the revolutions of 2011. it is about the graphics, technology. these are trends that have been building up over years. they are not going away. there is something that all governments in the region and beyond have to take account of and adapt to. some of that adaptation process may be very disorderly.
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i think it is important that those looking at the situation the root of that disorder. it is not the demand for democracy that is creating disorder. institutions, for especially government institutions to adapt to this new social reality. the quicker that they recognize that, the quicker that they make those adjustments, in other words open up and give people a voice, i think the sooner the region will stabilize. that fundamental recognition i think is what president obama articulated in may 2011. i think steve is right. the administration has not done a great job of holding fast to that recognition. but i think the same could very much be true, could be said to be true of governments in the
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region many times over. note of broader context, let me turn it over to michle. -- michele. >> thanks. i wanted to at one point to what steve was saying in his initial remarks about the inside of egypt today. you were talking about the military being behind a number of things. i wanted to bring up the dimension of the internal security services and intelligence services. they were very much on the defensive for the last couple of years. after the fall of mubarak, the police and the security services, state security, the intelligence services were harshly criticized by the public and they were sort of in retreat.
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countere sort of committee were taking a low , they werecowed taking a low profile. they were coming under harsh criticism for past human rights abuses. intrusions into public freedoms and civic freedoms and so forth. they are now back. the interior minister came right out and announced it a few weeks ago. we are back. we are back in two political affairs, religious affairs, etc. unfortunately, there was no security sector reform. there were -- the interior minister was tried and so forth, but there was very little, there
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was no reform of security services. there was just about no accountability for abuses that they carried out either during the revolution or before that, and so because of that, in this situation, we now see the military and the internal security services which had been kind of rivals during the mubarak era, cooperating very closely. reconstructally something very much like the mubarak regime. this is not unusual. in many countries around the world where there are revolutions, there are eventually counter revolutions. iat is not to diminish, as said, what an unsuccessful and bread president -- bad president mohamed morsi was. how much the muslim brotherhood overreached, and how much public opposition there was to morsi and the brotherhood. all of that is true.
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what i'm saying is, i think that the military and the internal security services are taking advantage of all of that to try to come back to the kind of roles they had and the intrusive roles that they had in egyptian life including political life and so forth and human rights abuses. is, will egyptians except this costamare cap the moment, we see a lot of promilitary sentiments and people glad to be rid of the brotherhood and so forth. however, i want you to keep in mi the matrends that tamaraalsoe individual state, more demand and democracyts and so forth. i think these things will not go and that ishis atmpt to construct a mubarak
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ty state will only last a certain. i don't know how long that will be. also, i do agree with you that policyrientation of u.s. that we saw in president obama some -- obama's remarks might not be lasting. administratione take a half step in the right direction and then back away from that when the going gets rough. i would agree with you that even though president obama said some of the right things, and i think in terms of the reviews that are going on, these are the right things, i am not sure that we more principled u.s. policy toward egypt on an ongoing basis. >> thank you. will now open questions to the floor. i will remind you that it is limited to members of the national press club and credentialed press.
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these make your questions concise and to the point and say them loudly along with your name and affiliation. as a moderator, i do have the privilege of asking the first question. i will do that now. michelle, you mentioned that a lot of the u.s. foreign aid and joint military efforts that we have. can you address resident of him's -- was it obama's decision to cancel a military exercise, not just on the message we are .ending to egypt my follow-up question, steve, you talked about how there are attacks on ngos and labor markets. we are at the national press club and i would be remiss if i didn't ask you to address the problems the press is experiencing and is there something that the u.s. can do to help solve that problem?
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>> the united states has taken several steps. it suspended the delivery of f- 16 aircraft to egypt and canceled a very large joint military exercise that would have taken place at the end of september. there may be other military purchases and so forth under review. the apache helicopters and so forth, anything that could be repression will be under review. here is simple. i think there are two signals and away. is, we are concerned about the stability of egypt. having ancerned about
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security partner that we think is going down a road that will lead to instability in the country and in the region. the second signal is that we can't associate ourselves with some of the actions of the egyptian government and that we don't want to be seen as complacent. particularly if specific equipment and there may be commercial purchases under review as well. things like your gas canisters. -- teargas canisters. it is embarrassing to the u.s. when" and like that is used to repress demonstrations. these are attempts by the administration to send a signal without going as far as to cut off all military assistance. as we have seen with u.s. policy toward syria, this is the style
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of this administration to try to do things step-by-step. >> thank you for your question onthe press and attacks freedom of expression in addition to other violations of human rights that i mentioned and described. certainly, we have seen that. we have seen immediately following the two on july 3, we saw many media outlets that are supportive of morsi and the brotherhood immediately shut down. and the violence that corrupted in the last several weeks, that has included violence against journalists including the death of some egyptian journalists and at least one foreign journalist killed in egypt. we have also seen lots of threats against other journalists made by security forces and police. we have seen lots of journalists have their cameras and equipment
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seized and not returned. seen a general intimidation of the press. we have seen pretty quickly most of the domestic media that is now operating inside egypt to sort of fall in line. , largely supportive of the military actions in the government that is now in place. as of yet, there have been some attacks against foreign journalist. we haven't seen an escalation. if foreign journalists continue to report and be critical of actions inside egypt, we haven't yet seen things rides -- rise to the level of places like syria where foreign journalists are completely expelled the country. it is very troubling for the domestic media.
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>> now we will open it up to the floor. please stand, stake your affiliation loudly and your question. >> [inaudible] due to the egyptian extremist and alsock from iraq there is a large stockpile of bombs in libya. there is a likelihood of civil war in egypt. how do you think about that? >> what is the likelihood of civil war in egypt and how do you address that? >> thank you. i have to start by noting that the security challenges that you just pointed to, the desire of jihad e-groups to infiltrate -- ihadi groups to infiltrate, those we dated the military coup.
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they have been problems for a while. they presented challenges to the egyptian government both before and after the events of the summer. thatnk what we have now has exacerbated the situation in and let me say i don't believe that egypt is heading towards civil war, i think the military and internal security services have significant capacity as steve described. sometimes they deploy that capacity in inappropriate ways. they have plenty of capacity to deal with the mystic security threats. we are seeing that. politicalat confrontation is having a few effects. a segment, there is of the egyptian population who are members of the muslim brotherhood, who now feel under siege and under threat. some supporters and members of
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the brotherhood have clearly employed violence both against government buildings and government security forces, but also against regular egyptian citizens. this is reprehensible and unacceptable. not amount at this point to anything like an insurgency. these are small-scale incidents and they need a response that is anded in the rule of law the fact that the government needs to have a monopoly on the use of force but it needs to use that responsibly. -- you, what you have know president kennedy once said, if you make peaceful change impossible, you make violent change inevitable. to a certain extent, you have to see that that is taking place in egypt today. not all of those brotherhood supporters are going to turn to violence, but some of them will. i groups arejihad
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going to flock to egypt but some of them will. i think there is no question that the political crisis and confrontation in cairo between the military, the old state, the liberal and secular politicians and the forces that she was describing, that confrontation is having ripple effects that are generating more violence and averageurity threats to egyptians. average egyptians will pay the price. unfortunately, the most vulnerable will pay the biggest rise. i think we see that particularly among egypt's tristan community. -- christian community. >> you guys mentioned the , the needstability
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for institutions, do you think there is a chance for democracy or will these the ongoing issues for the foreseeable future? -- is there a chance for democracy and when will we see it? >> we knew when egyptians carried out their first revolution in january 2011 that if egypt was going to make this transition from authori tarianism to democracy, that it would be long and hard. it would not be something that would emerge in a year or two or three. there would probably be many setbacks and so forth on the way. if they were to eventually get there. i would say, it is still to become a egypt
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democracy. i see what has happened as having been a setback. on the other hand, if mohamed morsi as a very unsuccessful president lost an election, i think that would have been a step forward for egypt's democracy, for him to be unsuccessful and exclusionary and so forth in office and then to be voted out in a regular election. that would have been a message that there is accountability to the citizens through the ballot box. unfortunately, a military to didn't send that message. that doesn't mean that it is all over. you can't just give up on egypt. egypt is a very important country, a very large country, the most populous country in the middle east. i believe that these megatrends mentioned, citizen demand for a government that is
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accountable and provides services, are not going away. i think that would be more phases in egypt and it is still possible that in the course of the coming years, that egypt can become a democracy. >> we have time for two more questions. >> [inaudible] regarding the review, i am not trying to argue with you on what is going on in egypt, regarding the review, what do you expect from the outcome of the review of u.s. policy toward egypt, ?specially regarding democracy
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moment, do you have any regret in your understanding or appeasing or appealing to islamists? >> what do you expect from the u.s. in helping move the democracy along and do you have any expectations for the muslim brotherhood? >> thank you. brief response to each of your questions and then i will turn it over to my colleagues. think thew, i fundamental underlying ms of american policy -- premise of american policy since 2011 has been that stability requires democracy. these are not dichotomous alternatives.
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i would argue that stability in sinai has suffered from the rocking us and mistakes of the egyptian political transition. otherwise to argue based on the facts. so how will this review go? i don't know. it is very difficult for me to imagine that the u.s. government will not have that premise firmly in mind as it does this review. ultimately, the outcome of the review is going to be heavily dependent on what happens on the ground in cairo and the decisions of the egyptian government. if the egyptian government and particularly the military and security services continue down a path that involves excessive use of force, clampdowns on individual liberties, no prospect therefore of a political process that will stabilize the country, then the united states is going to see egypt as a messy place that is
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getting messier. setting aside the policy considerations, i from a political perspective, america does not want to touch the kind of mess in the middle east. theink that is just political context and reality of this. you asked whether any of us have regrets. regarding our support for democracy in the muslim brotherhood. let me be very clear. i know you know this. the three people sitting up here today have each been very clear eyed and very critical of what we saw as actions by the muslim brotherhood and president morsi that were undermining democratic prospects in egypt. president morsi issued a decree that set him above judicial review. he ran through a constitution that was asked visionary -- was exclusionary.
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were pushing ay law that would have eviscerated the judiciary. it would have clamped down public protests. civilld have nationalized society organizations in the country. i don't think any of us had any illusions about the trajectory that he was on and we all voice to those concerns. think, to no way i say that i am easily relaxed about the outcome in egypt. i think what happened on july 3 has sent a country further down the path toward instability, taking it farther away from democracy. thank you. agree with tamara but i will expand a little bit. it certainly is the case that over the past year, myself and our organization consistently
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to bethe u.s. government much more forceful and apply more pressure on the muslim brotherhood in response to the action they were taking. having said that, certainly we have been and will continue to be supportive of what we see as democratization in egypt and i think in know way will we in the the brotherhood sense of supporting them over other political trends or movements. we were supportive of the rights of all we were supportive of the rights of all parties to participate, including the muslim brotherhood. we were very concerned about anti-democratic measures that were taken during the 18 months that the armed forces were in charge.
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i don't believe that the exclusion from the brotherhood -- from the process at an theier stage put them on right trajectory and i don't believe there exclusion now --ld allow >> unfortunately that was a long question, and we are out of time. i would like to thank mr. mcinerney and our guests for joining us today and sharing this important information about the crisis in egypt. thank you. [applause]
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>> tonight we will continue our week-long look at the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. moderator marvin calvert and a panel of civil rights leaders recall the civil rights movement and how things have changed over the last 50 years. among the speakers, congressman john lewis. you can see that event to lot -- live tonight at eight eastern. will be joined by former presidents bill clinton and jimmy carter, congressional leaders, and embers of martin luther king's junior's family. now today's state department briefing. she spoke about the violence in syria and its use of chemical weapons and said a u.s. response would not including action involving regime change.
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this is 25 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. i will go to your questions. the phone calls that the secretary had yesterday and today, specifically related to syria. >> absolutely. yesterday the secretary spoke with the u n secretary-general, eu highthem, with the representative ashton, with that turkish foreign minister, the , to callsign minister with the jordanian foreign minister, a call with secretary hake and a call with the arab league secretary-general. those were all yesterday.
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then today, so far, just for planning purposes a thing for a few days we will send an update at the end of the day with all the list of calls where doing. so far today he has spoken with the russian foreign minister and the moroccan foreign minister as well. an exceptionmake to that end of the day thing if it happens -- if he happens to call a sod? >> yes. question have seen the arab league statement from this morning. i'm wondering if you have any reaction or response to that. >> i think it was a very strong statement. i know you have seen it as well. i sharply condemned the use of banned chemical weapons. you importantld to set the top that we believe that any careful review of the facts in the situation leads to the conclusion that the regime
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was in fact behind this horrific chemical weapons attack and that chemical weapons were used on a large scale. opposition does not have those capabilities. i will have additional information forthcoming from the intelligence community in the days to come. >> would you say that in the secretary's phone calls ,esterday and the one today particularly to the arab foreign this statement or the meeting the statement emanated from was the subject of the conversation? >> i don't know if it was the subject of their conversation. i don't know if the meeting specifically i know the arab league remains in emergency session. the secretary and all these calls has been discussing
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clearly be assessment we are undertaking and it's some point will be making a decision him out a response. >> you said it was a very strong statement. is the administration pleased with what the arab league has to say? >> i think anybody else would encourage people and organizations to make strong statements and dimming the use of them ago weapons in this case and all others. >> the statement also called on the security council to overcome takeifferences and to deterrent action. is this something the united states feels is necessary before any kind of response is implemented? >> i would underscore again that the president has not made a decision.
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i am not going to hypothetically talk about what may or may not be part of that decision. there are a lot of rumors out there about whether we will take action a or action be or what that might entail. clearly the secretary and the president and others remain in close consultation with our international partners and allies. >> i'm not asking what the response is going to be, but in the range of responses the administration is considering, would any of them require action of the un security council? >> i'm not going to answer that question one way or the other before the president has made a decision. >> was this statement formulated as a result of you sharing? they clearly hold the regime accountable for this horrible crime.
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were you sharing your intelligence assessments that you said you will share with the public? have you been sharing those assessments with the arab league as they formulated their statement that was undoubtedly pointing a thing or? speaking, we are sharing our assessment with our allies around the world as we make them. if that was part of what went into the arab league statement. i think it is crystal clear to anybody looking at this that the regime was responsible here. >> it is clear circumstantially, but as you said, you would put out your intelligence assessment. that would prove what you are saying is undeniable. is, did you ask the arab league to issue some kind of statement that would show that the arabs hold the regime accountable for that echo >> barely be arab league makes
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decisions about its statements on its own. called publicly and privately on everyone to strongly condemn what happened in syria and to make it clear that we need to hold the regime accountable. i'm not going to specifically outline what the discussions were with the secretary-general other than to say that clearly we call on people and organizations around the world to make such strong statements. >> do you see the statement as an endorsement or in support of any action that you say -- you say that there will be a response. do you see it as a call by the arab league for some kind of international response? >> they clearly said that the regime needed to be held accountable. said we will respond appropriately as the president makes a decision. that is pretty close to clear in the statement. >> so you would see this arab statement as a kind of -- i
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don't want to say green light. >> i think you are taking it a step further. >> he has not made a decision on what he is going to do, but secretary kerry and secretary hagel talking about they are ready to go like that, it is clear the administration is putting out there that there is going to be some kind of response. was going to say before you interrupted me is that the president has not made a decision yet. a i would not read into this specific endorsement of a decision that has not been made. >> do you see this as any kind of legal support from the arab league? >> i'm not going to you do any sort of legal analysis about a hypothetical decision that has yet to be made. >> was the secretary meeting with the president this morning? >> not to my knowledge. i can double check on his
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schedule. let me just say he clearly remains in close contact with senior officials in the white house. >> what was the reason for postponing the meeting with the russians? do you feel there is just nothing to be said right now on the political process that her responses imminent, or a response is to be soon and that just has to be on hold for now, and that you would not make any gains from -- >> given our ongoing consultations, that would be an appropriate response to the chemical weapons attack. we had decided to postpone this week's meeting that was supposed to happen in may. we wanted it to happen at the time that would have the best chance to make progress. i would underscore strongly that this only a postponement. i think what happened on august 20 first only underscores the need for a political solution, and we remain fully invested in
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a comprehensive and durable political solution to the crisis in syria, because we continue to believe there is no military solution to this crisis. >> the secretary spoke with the russian foreign minister today so his level of consultation on this issue is quite high and will continue to be. we did not believe that this was the right timing for this meeting but we are working right now with the russians to reschedule it at a time that makes more sense, hopefully in the very near future. and we will continue working with russia and our international partners again, because we are fully invested in this process. there is a precedent. back in 1990, the arab league met and basically did exactly the same thing, giving a green light for what became known as desert storm.
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>> i am aware of the history. i'm not going to get ahead of where we are and make hypothetical legal analysis about decision that hasn't been made yet. >> but surely you see this as some sort of an endorsement? >> i'm not going to use that word. >> you keep saying crystal clear. have seen ourt we video supplied by a party to the combat, worry of seen that you keep stating that only the syrian regime has a rocket capability and so on. it all seems to be conjecture or circumstantial. >> it is not circumstantial evidence that the regime maintains custody of these kind of weapons. we have a broad array of information that points to thatt have the capability to use these kind of rockets. and i would add to that, before i get to your next question, that we gardy had a high confidence assessment from our
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intelligence community that the regime has chemical weapons -- has used chemical weapons during this conflict. i think that any assertion that the opposition could be behind this justifies logic. xo from your point of view, what useful purpose are the u.n. investigator serving if you have already arrived at a beyond a shadow of any doubt conclusion that the regime has already used chemical weapons? what useful purpose do they serve, and why do they continue to be there? apparently you have already arrived at that conclusion before they submit their report. >> i would make a couple of points. as i said yesterday, let's keep in mind what the mandate of the u.n. investigation team is. it's not to determine culpability. it's to determine whether chemical weapons are used, which was determined very shortly after it happened. even today we saw the area of the u.n. investigation was supposed to go visit is being attacked by the syrian regime, so they've had to postpone their investigation. so we think it is important that
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the regime not be able to use the investigation as a stalling tactic or a charade to hide behind under the notion that they somehow did not perpetrate the attack. >> why go through this exercise of sending the heirs, the u n inspectors, if you already concluded that there was use of chemical weapons and they are not to determine who did what, correct? >> would clearly value the u.n.'s work. we have said that from the beginning, when it comes to investigating chemical weapons in syria. it is up to the u.n. to make their decision about their team and when they will attempt to go investigate things and when they won't. but we've reached a point now where we believe too much time has passed for the investigation to be credible and that it's clear the security situation isn't safe for the team in syria. again, we don't want the regime to be able to use the u.n. investigation is a stalling tactic to hide behind. >> so does that mean you think they should leave? -- dohouldn't carry on
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you think what they are doing are not doing, since they seem to be stuck in their hotel, is a stalling tactic and therefore they should be pulled out of the country? >> the secretary has been in close on tax with the secretary- general of the u.n.. i'm not going to specifically detail what those conversations outlined. we've made our views known publicly and privately that we believe the u.n. investigation is not safe for them on the ground and that we believe too long of a time has passed for the it to be credible. and we've made those views known. >> so you're not pushing for that to go back and look at some of these areas where the weapons are supposedly have been used? >> we believe it is too late to be credible, correct. >> you don't think it would be helpful for them to present a report, especially considering the fact that they're not going to determine culpability even in the best case scenario? that would not be helpful in trying to bring about people helpful russians who --
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in convincing them that this has actually happened? >> we do believe that it's too late to be credible. >> did the secretary and foreign , did theyavrov discuss this postpone meeting? then with your quibble over cancellation versus postponement. this meeting was to be held on the 20th, correct e >> correct, it has been postponed. >> but the meeting is no longer happening on the 28th. >> correct. >> i'm just not sure i understand what you're quibble is. is it there was going to be a meeting that was scheduled on the 28, then we can go back to meetings and other cities like jericho, for example, but if
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there was going to be a meeting and then you guys decided not to have it, if there was going to be meeting on a certain date and you decided not to have it -- >> i do think the word difference is important here, and let me tell you why. >> the meeting that was on the 28th of august is not happening. >> the same meeting will be happening very soon at a date we determine with the russians. >> was that a subject of the conversation with foreign minister lavrov this morning? >> i don't know, i can find out. whoe have been some people have been taking from this postponement that maybe we are not fully invested in the geneva process, that were walking away from the process with the russians, even though it is clearly a difficult time and situation. nothing could actually be further from the truth. i want to underscore that we are fully invested in working with the russians even as we disagree on a lot in syria today. from thismight say
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podium that you could assure us that no meetings have been canceled. is that correct e >> i'm not even going to go there today. this meeting has been postponed. but i appreciate the effort. that was a good one. >> do we know what type of chemical weapons were used? is it nerve gas? is it worse than that? >> i don't have additional details about that. again, the intelligence community will be sharing its many additional details as we can in the coming days. hear awe likely to statement maybe today, maybe tomorrow, that at least some sort of an intelligence report that is declassified or can be announced? is that likely to happen? >> i don't have any specifics on timing. i will say that once intelligence community is prepared to make its formal assessment, we will provide a classified assessment to the congress and we will make unclassified details available
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to the public. we will be making those findings public is weak. i don't have additional timeline beyond that. >> according to the american media that the united states could hit syria as early as thursday was posed by a senior official. do you have any comments on that? some analysts say if the strike happens, the united states could take a different form of strike from the iraqi war, maybe drone or missiles first? >> the president has not made a decision yet on how to respond. , bold itnderscore that and underline it and highlighted for all of you today. he has not made a decision yet. i know there are a lot of rumors out there, but let's not get ahead of where the president is on this. any options we are considering would be a response to the cw attack. people have asked about this in the past, aimed at regime
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change. nothing like that. cwis a direct response to use. >> can i ask why not? your stated policy goal from president obama two years ago, , that to the day president assad should go. >> we continue to believe that president assad has lost all legitimacy and that he should go. any specific action taken in response to the cw attack will to thatain, in response attack. we will continue helping the opposition gained strength on the ground, but i think we've made clear that there's no military solution to this conflict, and that's exactly why we remain fully invested in the geneva process. >> i think this was the subject of a wall street journal article today. if you want to prevent the use of chemical weapons again, don't you just need to eliminate the source of the chemical weapons? >> that is a very broad statement. what exactly do you mean by the if you're saying the
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regime used chemical weapons and you need to respond to these chemical weapons and you want to prevent them from happening again, why not just get rid of assad in your response echo why shouldn't the ultimate response be to stop them from ever being used in the regime again e >> again, the president hasn't made a decision. i just said very clearly we are not contemplating any action aimed at regime change. >> but i don't understand why not, though. >> because we're not. >> did you say that it was aimed at -- whatever the response is going to be, it is aimed at deterring future use of chemical weapons? >> as we get closer to a response, clearly that is one thing people are talking about. clearly we want to deter future use of chemical weapons. so i would not disagree with that notion. >> was that also the aim of the first -- of the response to the first time that you had documented evidence of a chemical weapons attack e >>
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when we announced our policy change we said that we were increasing our assistance to the opposition to help them grow stronger on the ground in their fight against the assad regine. >> so why wasn't it then, after the assad regine had, to your understanding, shown itself willing and able to use chemical weapons -- why wasn't your response to the first time woulding that you thought be a deterrent to the use -- to a second or third or fourth use? >> i'm not saying that it wasn't, actually. i think that clearly we want to take actions that would deter the regine from using chemical weapons in the future. what we saw here was a gross escalation of the use of chemical weapons. i'm not saying that it wasn't part of the decision that went into the increase the scale and the scope of the assistance then. >> can you say positively whether it was -- whether that was one of the goals of the response the first time around?
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>> that has certainly been a goal of ours all along. assume that the range of options that the president is considering now start above the level of increasing the size and -- ofand scale of the your support for the opposition, given the fact that deterrence was one of your goals the first time around, and it clearly didn't work e >> i think it's fair to say that we been cleared that this was a mass escalation in chemical weapons use and that we are going to be making a decision -- the president is -- on an appropriate response. think that is a fair judgment to make. >> would you be willing to concede that your response to the first documented case of chemical weapons use was not effective as a deterrent to the assad regine using chemical weapons against e >> clearly we
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have assessed that the assad regime did use chemical weapons again. anything other than serious lavrov that you are aware of e >> i don't know. i haven't gotten a full readout of that. i will check on that and if we can give you more. these are very serious issues and we need to calibrate and discuss and debate any potential response very carefully with the national security team. sound as if you're calibrating it all. all we hear is that there's going to be a response. why do you have to keep telling us or anybody that there's going to be a response echo why don't you just want the syrians and make your response? >> because the president hasn't made a decision about an appropriate response yet. >> you keep saying you don't want to talk about some
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hypothetical decision that wasn't made. >> i have been clear that the president is going to make a decision on a response. remember this attack did not take place that long ago. we have been gathering information. we have been working with the first -- with the investigation to see if they would be granted access. we have been gathering information in the days since and we have put an assessment together. this didn't happen three months ago. it just happened recently, and it is an important decision that the president and national security seen -- the national security team will take lightly. >> nearly two dozen house members have signed on to a letter demanding president obama consult congress and wait for its authorization before launching military strikes against syria. returns is slated to september 29, but the obama administration action against president bashar al-assad assad
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might be imminent. 22 house members cosigned a letter, including one democrat from texas. it has been 50 years since the march on washington, where martin luther king gave his "i have a dream those quote speech. you can see that event live tonight at eight eastern here on c-span. morning's washington journal, more about the 1963 march. our guests include professor , a sociology professor at georgetown university. lmann.joined by own ul you can see washington journal live tomorrow morning at 7:00 eastern here on c-span. tomorrow, president obama attends a ceremony on the steps of the lincoln memorial to
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commemorate the anniversary. he will be joined former presidents bill clinton and jimmy carter. members of martin luther king junior's family. we will have that live tomorrow at 11 a.m. eastern, also on c- span. click c-span, we bring public affairs events from washington directly to you, putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings and conferences him and offering complete gavel-to- gavel coverage of the u.s. house, all as a public service a private industry. we are c-span, created by the cable tv industry 34 years ago and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. now you can watch us in hd. on july 31, congressional leaders held a ceremony of the u.s. capitol observing the anniversary of the march on washington. we hear remarks from house speaker john boehner, anti- pelosi, mitch mcconnell as well as georgia congressman don luis.
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tomorrow is the anniversary of the march. this is an hour. gentlemen, the speaker of tniepat honorable john weiner. john boehner.le >> 50 years ago this month, a simple banner was hung from a third story window in harlem. it read "march on washington for jobs and freedom, august 28." organizers were ambitious. they had plans for nearly 100,000 people to come to washington. but when the day came, more than 2.5 times that number showed up. washington, stepping off buses and out of train doors, entering on foot as far away as alabama.
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those swells of humanity converged on this great mall, singing "woke up this morning with my mindset on freedom." it was a day for the ages. today we have the honor of paying tribute to this event. i will start my analogy of the debt we owe to those men and [applause] >> what i call, but larger story. in a way, it all began right here in this house chamber.
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this is where a freshman representative from illinois, givingcoln, filed a bill the president the power to a mansi eight the slaves -- to emancipate the slaves. this strong but judicious enemy, slavery. is now president of the united states and he is judicially signed the proclamation. he said, i can only trust in god that i have made no mistake. a century later, reverend king by invokingddress that very proclamation while standing in the shadow of that very president. --ween those two toning
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the struggles is ordinary americans committed to the promise that all men are created equal. among them, rosa parks, frederick douglass, whose statues will be dedicated this year. of giving in. douglas had become its most elegant opponent. she would go on to walk with cain and lewis and advise lincoln. she served as a tireless and served as a freedom fighter. this is the story of how the president, a slave, a seamstress, and a minister locked arms across a. of time -- across a time. a story with room enough for each of us to press for some cause, some dream bigger than ourselves.
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thank you all for being here and welcome to the united states capital. [applause] , pleases and gentlemen stand for the presentation of by the united states armed forces color guard, singing of the national anthem, and the retiring of the colors. [indiscernible] >> halt. [indiscernible]
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>> [indiscernible]
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing as the chaplain of the united states house of representatives, the reverend patrick conroy, gives the indication. >> let us pray. ,then said to moses this is the land upon which i promised to abraham, and jacob. i will give it to your descendents. i have let you see it with your own eyes. but you shall not cross over. -- nationsour maces watched over have
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us with special care. to raiseas been used the challenge of america to profits of the judeo-christian tradition, of which the founding fathers identified. we gather to an iconic moment in our history where millions of americans identify with your and their desire to enter into a promised land. once -- one whose aspirations were proclaimed by the declaration of independence. as we are member thousands of marchers who, 50 years ago, weried banners proclaiming walked -- march for jobs all now, we demand voting rights now, we are reminded the struggle for equal rights and justice is ongoing.
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while those serving in our armed services guarantee our freedoms abroad, each american must stand vigilant in ensuring these things at home. gather therefore, as we know that their efforts were not in vain. dear god, bless america. a man. and their desire to-- amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention to the television screens around the room for a documentary video presentation. ♪
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>> the plane will leave admin night and we will wrote -- --
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>> i was 33 years old and scared to death. i began to feel nauseated and i started sipping coca-cola and nothing helped and i went down off the steps and i threw up.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [applause] >> good afternoon. , mcconnell, leader car burn, speaker boehner, thank
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bringing us together for this congressional i partisan of the 50 year anniversary of the march on washington. it was exciting to see the enthusiasm in the film? expect so many of us would be here who had ties to all that was going on? who could suspect we would all with member of congress john lewis? [applause] attorney general, mr. mayor, you honor us with your presence. , butrce urgency of now words rang out across the national mall. acrossin households america, the summons ignited a real theto make
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promise of democracy. everyone knows the "i had a dream" speech. but the fierce urgency of now part of it was not only an inspiration, but it was a motivation to act. not the first time dr. martin luther king junior urged the travelers to reject the .tatus quo two, in hit words, -- in his words, refuse to take the tranquilizing drug of stagnant is in. dr. king delivered the same message to the delegates at the convention. he said, "now i realize those all over are telling us we must slow up, he said, but we cannot afford this slow up. we have a
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moral obligation to press on because of our love for america and our love for the democratic way of life, we must keep moving. in 1956 to theo mall in 1963 to america today, dr. king's message endorse. endors.key -- we must keep moving. our heritage and our hope. at the time of the march, there was no landmark legislation advancing civil or voting rights. within two years after the march, there would be a historic civil rights act and a voting rights act. that is why i think it is very important congress observe this .nniversary and what followed there were signs of progress but not enough. at the time of the march, there
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were five african-american members at the house of -- today, 43 led by the chairwoman. progress andgn of things like that, it is not enough. that is what is not enough. [applause] at the time of the march, john lewis was the chair of the student nonviolent committee. today, he was -- is distinguished, very senior and respected member of the house of representatives, representing the district of georgia. that is a sign of progress and we want more. at the time of march, the congressional black caucus did not exist. today, it is well identified as the conscience of the congress. [applause] congress has acted to
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break down barriers and housing and the list goes on. congress has worked to reduce disparities in healthcare and equality in the workplace. .e have kept moving forward each step is a sign of progress. tohave a moral obligation press on. we must keep moving. we must embrace the fierce urgency of now. on the east entrance to the martin luther king memorial in san francisco is another statement from dr. king 's visit to our city in 1956. he said, "i believe a day would come when all of god's children, from black to white, would be significant on the constitution's keyboard. reference to music reminds me that standing in the crowd in
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the march on washington, i had the privilege to be at the crowd. i do not want to say i heard the speeches. i had to go home and get married. [laughter] know how many years ago the march was, as i celebrate now, my husband and my 50 year anniversary. [applause] anyone who was there standing in the crowd at the march on washington would remember the sound of the day. hearing the music. you have heard the music in the film. listening to the people saying, hopeful about the future, determined to act to strengthen our democracy. today, the music of the march, the harmony of the civil rights music, inspirational words came, to inspire us to compose on that august afternoon.
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a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. thank you. [applause] theadies and gentlemen, majority leader of of the united states senate, the honorable harry lee -- harry reid. [applause] took place inrch washington, demanding what dr. daybreaked a joyous and a long night of captivity, i was doing exactly what i am doing today. i had been a police officer and saw over several days in
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washington, then i looked out on the day of the speech and i did not know -- every place you look. buses. yellow buses, red buses, buses. sea of men,ed a women, and children lurch from the buses and peacefully they can -- they came from every corner of the country, from the streets of california and the las vegas from the streets of soma, the fields of georgia, louisiana. is now a united states senator representing the state of maine. he was in the march. seat to good siege --
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watch the speech of dr. king. he was in a branch of a tree in the mall watching the speech. people came from all over. these crowd people and these proud african americans and their allies would no longer stand silent why the promise -- while the promise of liberty and justice for all denied freedom to so many. i could not hear the speeches. i felt the heat. i was inside the capital. but i could see the tide of hundreds of as thousands of our brothers and --ters pushed forward tour toward that thing called freedom.
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day, martin luther king shared his dream. 1963 not as the end of the fight of civil rights, but only the beginning. here is what he said. "we cannot turn back. there are those who are acting -- asking for the civil rights, when will we be satisfied? we are not satisfied and we will not be until justice rolls down like a mighty stream." in the year following the march, those momentum -- momentous words, congress passed the civil rights act. to distract eyes for decades and decades african-american voters. a year after that, the voting rights act was enacted into the law.
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discrimination in places especially the south. dr. king was right when he said this struggle for equality would be ongoing. dr. king was right when he said we should not rest until we feel the waters of justice down around us. 50 years later, some of the progress made by the civil rights movement and some of the freedoms protected by the voting rights act are once again under siege. supreme court's decision to strike down portions of the voting rights act, states, once again, our free to to discourage american citizens to exercise one of the most fundamental rights -- the right to vote -- without intimidation or obstruction. regrettably, even hours after the decision, not days, not weeks, but hours, states had
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already decided they were going to do some things that they previously would never have done. in texas and mississippi, north carolina and florida, groups are already devising creative ways to make it difficult for minorities, each of us, to vote. in texas, they have already done it. this assault on freedom should be taken as seriously as you have taken anything. any changes to our voting process should be enacted to make voices heard. just simply being able to vote. i have asked the senate judiciary committee to examine these dangerous voting suppression efforts and discuss steps the senate can make to preserve the right of every
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person to cast a ballot. [applause] on the day the civil rights act was signed into law, president lyndon johnson warned the struggle for equality was not nearly over. here is what he said. "those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought." now our generation of americans have been called on to the search of justice. he is sure right. those words are written -- are a reminder to a new generation that freedom must be tended to in order -- for us to grow.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell. >> there are moments when you know that in -- at this point in time, old ways will be left to the past. that there is no turning back. wasmarch on washington just such a moment.
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, and for anyone privileged enough to be there, or, in congressman lewis's case, to participate, you just knew your country would never be the same. neither would you. ,ne sympathetic college student i will tell you, it is something i will never forget. i could not hear much from the capitol steps, but i was there. the crowd and the energy told its own story. the thousands of americans were ready to meet the moment, not of a better future for themselves, but to fight for a better future for their
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children. the march inspired millions more to fight for civil rights. it inspired me to help organize for change in kentucky. to actired washington with congress passing the civil rights act less than a year later. i remember that well, to because i watched the senator overcome opposition and pass it. the marchere is that helped ring the strands of an emerging national consensus into focus. to theed get us closer ideal of equality dr. king spoke of so eloquently that day. while we all remember his famous speech, it is also important to remember the march
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and the movement it represented was the work of many. james madison once said our constitution was the work of many heads and hands. the same can be said of the civil rights movement. i have already mentioned congressman lewis reminds us of .he contributions they lift our hearts. chaplain black and the revel in they lift our spirits. all of the seats filled in this hall of national memory remind us of the many thousands who made their way from every corner of this nation. to beh great effort,
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, 1963. august 28 for an event they would never forget. for an event that we as a nation must never forget. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, jesse norman performing a version of the song performed at the 1963 march on washington for jobs on freedom. "he has got the whole world in his hands. >> let us listen please to the words of this song and understand that in the heart of has thetor, every soul
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same value and should be valued equally. thank you very much for the opportunity to sing for you. ♪ he's got the whole world in his hands. he's got the whole wide world in his hands. he's got the whole world in his hands. he's got the whole world in his hands. [singing "he's got the whole
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hands"] his ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. >> how about a round of applause? [applause] let me thank my colleagues for their testimonials and express my gratitude to all the members of staff of the congressional black caucus in their assistance planning this ceremony. .e have many guests the mayor is here. our attorney general is here. we want to welcome all of you. right now, i have the distinct honor of introducing a great patriot, the recipient of the presidential medal of freedom,
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and original freedom fighter, an architect in the march on washington, and the last living speaker. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable john lewis. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. speaker. ,hen i look back on august 28 march on day of the washington for jobs and freedom, i see it as one of this nation's finest hours.
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andamerican people push pull. struggled, suffered, and some even died, to demonstrate the desire to see a more fair, a more just society. their efforts and commitment a spirit of , collaboration, and meaningful change into the congress. they became one of the finest hours of american democracy. as members of congress, we owe it to ourselves to take a moment to contemplate the meaning of this 50th anniversary. what, collaboration, and meaningful change into the congress. they became will it take for use together to make that kind of
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progress for the american people once again? i was only 23 years old. i had all my hair. [laughter] a few pounds lighter. 1963, leading up to the march on washington, there had been an unbelievable amount of action on the part of the movement, on the part of those of us who called ourselves a circle of trust. a band of her others and sisters. at lunchre sitting counters, standing in at theaters. they were eaten, arrested, and jailed by the hundreds of thousands.
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assassinated in june of 1963. , the governorce of alabama, stood in the doorway on the university of to block two young students, two young people that . got to know with us today. thank you for being asked -- here today. [applause] the commission of public safety for the city of birmingham used police dogs of women and
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children, involved in peaceful, nonviolent protest. ,r. martin luther king jr. irreverent, and other leaders have been arrested and jailed in birmingham. millions of american citizens could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin. , collegedoctors professors, high school andcipals, maids, butler's, farmers stood in aim -- in a line all across the south, registered to vote. intimidation surrounded the democratic process. people are afraid of losing their jobs. beaten and even killed, but trying to register to cast a
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vote. a society committed to liberty .nd justice that the differences between us have some bearing on human life. eight decision and they had -- we had to do what we could, give up lives if necessary, to demonstrate those kind of ideas must not prevail. the morning of the march, we met with democrats and republican leaders right here on capitol hill on the house and senate side. some of you here, take the time to come to my office, and you will see a photo, black and white, at the end of our meeting.
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a republican who played a major role in having to pass the civil rights of 1964, and only members who voted for the act is the dean of the congress and my dear friend. [applause] the plan that we would walk down the avenue and lead people to the steps of the lincoln memorial. when we step out to the streets, we saw hundreds of thousands of people pouring out the union station. they were black and white, latino, asian, and native american. they were members of -- .merican citizens
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especially those living in europe, came from abroad to participate, to be a part of the march, to participate in the march. mostly, there were countless and nameless ordinary people with extraordinary vision who came. toy wanted to their witness truth. one people, one family, the human family. we are one people, one house, the american house. we are supposed to be reading them. they are already marching. ,t was like, there go my people let me catch up with them. they pushed us down constitution avenue [laughter] up to the status of the lincoln memorial. a delegate, ae,
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distinguished law student, already on the mall, russian -- recognize the volunteers for one of the march organizers. two months before the march, members of the so-called big six, the civil rights organization, met with john f kennedy just days before i had .een elected the national chair in a meeting with president kennedy, my first official act. a this meeting, randolph, spokesperson, told president to marche were going on washington. .resident kennedy was concerned
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he started twisting and turning in his chair. he asked us whether he thought there would be violence. mr. randolph said, mr. president, this will behe askedt there would be violence. mr. randolph said, mr. president, this will be a peaceful, nonviolent protest. he was not so sure. 6000 police officers and troops were deployed around the city. stands were abandoned. a major league baseball game was cancer -- canceled. , soone even rate a sister -- our file system, so they could pull the plug if necessary. religiousay to service. they were going to a meeting. saying, how we got over?
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, itsands of us together seemed like the whole place, the whole mall, started rocking. peace, in some way, love, and nonviolence had been instilled in the very being of all the participants. we believed in every human being, even those violent toward us, there was the spark of the divine. we had a right to protest. we have a right to demand this nation respect the dignity -- dignity and worth of every human being. people were moved and inspired by the vision of justice and the quality and were willing to put their lives on the line.
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martin luther king jr., this man, inspired all of us with his words. .e was a nice speaker he took those marble steps of the lincoln memorial. he gave us hope. he inspired a nation. i said something like, we march today for jobs and freedom, [indiscernible] thousands of our brothers and sisters not here. speech, i said, where is our party? where is the political party that made it necessary to march
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on washington? continue to say, we must seek we must work for the community for love, peace, and true brotherhood. our minds, souls, and hearts, could not rest until freedom and justice exist for all people. i say to you 50 years later, we've come a distance since that day. many of the issues that gave rise to the march are still present in our society today. violence, long-term unemployment, voting rights, and the need to protect human dignity. we have come a great distance, but we are not finished yet.
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a lifetime.ggle of to redeem the soul of america. tostill need to find a way humanize our political institution, our businesses, and .ur system of education 50 years later, those of us educated to the full -- calls of justice, need to appease ourselves. our struggle is an ongoing struggle. there will be progress. there will also be setbacks. we must continue to have hope and be still in our faith that this nation will become a truly multiracial democracy. we must continue to work. we must not give up or give in. keep the faith. and people hurting and
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suffering, we must be ready to take action, cast our votes, and move our feet. we must have a sense of urgency to use the power rented us to help and human suffering -- to help and human suffering -- to end human suffering. we as a people and a congress understand our differences do not divide us. our best when we accept that we are one people, one american family, that we all live in the same house. the american house, the world house. understand that no one, but no one, is breathless. everyone can make a -- contribution.
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the march on washington is saying to us today that we as a nation and a people can't -- can come together and lay down the burden of race. we can unite for the common good. in thebelieve again divine spark and us all. great things for all americans, and not just some. after the march was over, president kennedy invited us back down to the white house. he greeted each one of us. he was beaming like a proud father. he was smiling. he was glad everything had gone so well. the 10 ofhe hands of us. he said "you did a good job.
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john." -- job." he said, we all can dream. 50 years later. let's continue the work that has already been done to build a loving community, a community at peace with itself that values the dignity and worth of every citizen and every human being. that is the message of the march on washington. thank you. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please stand as the chaplain of the united states senate gives the benediction. >> let us pray. ,nternal lord, god superintendence of the universe, we thank you for the gift of the honorable john lewis and for this 50th anniversary celebration of the march on washington. , that, through nonviolent, direct action,
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courageous americans aroused our nation's conscience and helped reduce legislation that brought greater freedom to all. grateful, lord, that on that day, america was challenged to remember a dream rooted in the vision of our nation's framers, who believed that america was a land of should where freedom rain from every mountainside. and all of our tomorrows, help us to buy your might follow you to the light. ,eep us forever in right paths
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we pray. ,heltered beneath your hands may we forever stand true to and true to our native land. , whoay, in the name of him has the whole world in his hands, on then. -- amen. >> please remain at your seats for the departure of the party.
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ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the days ceremony. thank you for attending and enjoy the rest of your day. ♪
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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♪ >> more about the march on washington. in a little more than an hour, speaking to the so-called little rock nine. african-american students who were denied access to high school in little rock arkansas in 1957.
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homeland security secretary janet napolitano gives her speech at the national press club. commemorating the anniversary of the march on washington. focusing on the role of the media and the civil rights , the moderator is marvin kalb of cbs news. some guests have been invited to the white house. we join the discussion for some introductory remarks.
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>> good evening and welcome to the national press club. i am a journalist and professor at american university's washington program. i was president of the national press club when we founded the calgary fort in 1994. we are starting our 20th season and marvin, i want to thank you for 20 exciting years. let's hear it for him. [applause] we are live tonight on c-span. we have a crowd here. i have been 281 of the shows and i don't think i have seen a bigger crowd and it is august. imagine what would have happened if we had done this in september. we are live on c-span. we are going to be on public television stations around the country. we are on the cbs radio network, xm radious -- sirius
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channel. we are live on the internet org.t now on npc. this has been a great partnership of the national press club, george washington university, and the severance teen center -- center for public policy. i want to take this opportunity to tell you to silence all cell phones. i want to hear no ringie din gies. turn them off. please, nobody get up once we start. keep the aisles free. introduce a like to couple of people. first, barbara cochran who is the president of the national press club journalism institute and her husband, the distinguished journalist john
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cochran over there. [applause] if he is in the audience, the national press club's executive director bill. he is probably out checking what is going on here. least, thest but not current president of the national press club, from bloomberg news, angela keen. >> thank you. i am extremely pleased to welcome our live audience here tonight as well as all of our hewers and listeners across the country. the national press club is proud to have been a partner with the kalb report for the past years and we are fortunate to have a wonderful panel here tonight. civil rights is an important topic and we are celebrating 50 years of the march on washington. growing up as a child in
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minnesota in the north, as a child of the 70's, i thought of civil rights as ancient history. it wasn't until i got to college further south that i realized that it was not ancient history, but that the parents of my friends had gone to segregated schools going up. it pleases me greatly to see so many students in our audience tonight. i know that students today are learning about the civil rights movement much earlier than i did each am pleased to welcome of you to our program. i would like to turn over the , theam to mike friedman executive producer of the kalb report. [applause] >> thank you, angela. it evening, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to this very special program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic march on washington. "remember in a march, a movement, and a dream."
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what a fabulous panel we have gathered tonight. our panel includes ambassador andrew young, naacp chairman emeritus lien bond, -- julian bond, dr. john wilson and the distinguished journalists gwen ifill and dorothy gilliam. were atour panelists the white house this evening. congressman john lewis has just introduced the president speaking at the white house and is going to be joining us shortly. stage,pleased to have on almost our entire panel. [laughter] we thank you all so very much for joining us this evening. [applause] we want to take a moment to recognize the members of the partnership that bring the kalb report to life.
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it begins with ethics and excellence in journalism foundation which has just re- upped to underwrite our cities -- series for an 11th consecutive year. joining us from the family, and i will ask them to rise our kelly and carol [applause] leadership of the national press club are wonderful partners. from george washington university, where it all began 20 years ago under the trachtenberg steve , we are pleased to have as supporters, the provost and his wife. [applause] research.dent for [applause] and the director of the gw
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school of media and public affairs and his wife. [applause] from a new partner in the kalb report series, university of maryland university college, and our provost. [applause] our principal purpose of the kalb report is to explore the pivotal role of the press in our democracy and the evolving roles and response abilities of the media in the 21st century. our most important audience members are our students who come from colleges and universities across the nation and around the world to be with us for these forums. tonight, we have representation from more than 30 colleges and universities around the world. i asked the students in our audience to raise their hands
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and be recognized. [applause] there are a lot of them up in the balcony tonight. a word about this evening custom format, when the next portion of the program begins, it will run 55 minutes with no breaks. it will be followed by 20 minutes of q and a with the audience and at the conclusion of the first 55 minutes, marvin will direct questioners to the microphones that are in the aisles. now, as we await the arrival of congressman lewis, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you, a person for whom this program was named. a person who covered the march on washington 50 years ago for walter cronkite and cbs news, my dear friend and partner of the last 20 years, journalist and scholar marvin kalb. [applause] >> thank you.
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thank you very much. thanks to you mike for a generous introduction. i think in fairness to all of you, while we wait the arrival of congressman lewis, i ought to tell you a little bit about what it was like as a reporter covering the march on washington. i had just several months before that returned from a three-year assignment in moscow. my mind was very much absorbed with foreign policy and with the cold war. , the bureauack chief at that time assigned me and roger to do a kind of running commentary on what was happening out there on the mall. me,use this was all new to i did a little bit of studying up as you can imagine. what i was so very impressed with was the fact that television was first coming into its own.
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we have to remember that in the 1950's, there was a. when most people -- a period when most people in the united states were buying a television set. you would find in the early 60's , there were television sets in most homes. force incoming a major the coverage of events in the united states and around the world. for me, at that time there were two big stories. one was the civil rights movement. the second was the building war in vietnam. it was domestic policy and foreign policy. perhaps it is interesting to wee that tonight, as commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington, we are in a bit of the same bind on those two stories. there is still the story of
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america and how it is that we are progressing to the degree that we are progressing. then, we also have -- appear to american edge of an military strike or an allied military strike against syria. ago,then, 50 years television was saying to all of us, these are the two big issues you have to be absorbed with. today, it is saying to all of us, as we look around and see these cameras, that we have this story of america which is still so very exciting, still so unfinished. the tapestry is still being woven. and there is a world out there for which there are no guideposts. we are on the edge of what i suspect is going to be a quick two day strike against syria.
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where does that lead to? will that be enough? what do i even mean i will that be enough? television wasys first finding its voice. ago,at day, 50 years telstar was a satellite system that was carrying a march on washington life to all of europe. , in mythe first time judgment or in my memory, when we were as an instrument, television exploded and going global. butas incredibly exciting, we were also aware of the enormous responsibility that was being placed upon us. the march onr washington, remember that most people on that day were
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expecting trouble. spoken, ikennedy had don't know to help many of you and i have a feeling it was john lewis, certainly, but he had spoken to you about the danger and the leaders of the civil rights movement were telling kennedy that it would not be violent. he didn't quite believe you. because he was there as hadident of everybody, he in june of that year introduced the idea of a civil rights bill into congress. he was very much of the belief that if there is violence, it will be seen in the wrong way the flow ofinhibit legislation toward a civil rights act. at that time, the south was filled with democrats.
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when we were so issues, andh large i want to ask dorothy something while we are just sitting here waiting for the congressman. he will be along. [laughter] he is a busy guy. wasas on the news tonight, he not? >> it was taped a while ago, but yes. [laughter] >> but you will be live here. dorothy, i was so impressed reading the oral history, the one that you gave. in it, in a very honest, raw way , you described what segregation was like in the united states. i wonder if you could just take us through some of those memories now. theell, shortly before
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march on washington, i had just been in oxford, mississippi. i became the first african- american woman reporter at the washington post in october, 1961. i had a four-year apprenticeship in the black press, including jet magazine. after being at the post for a couple of years, for actually just one year, this broke. i had grown up in the south. i have been exposed to racism much of my life and had gone to segregated schools from elementary through high school. but i wasn't prepared for mississippi. think mississippi kind of epitomizes segregation. place wherewas a
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apartheid rained. there is no other word for it. mississippi,ed in en route to mississippi, i was at -- with a photographer. we arrived and as we moved into oxford, we were stopped by men with gun racks on top of their trucks. some of theeasons natural apprehension i had going into mississippi was quelled was because i was with ernest withers who had grown up in the south. he would do whatever he needed to do to get a story. i knew that he would get us safely to oxford. on this one occasion, as we were driving into oxford, when we were stopped, he told me to just stay there. as a minister's daughter, i said a prayer while he did whatever
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he did outside. he got us through. they said, where are you going? he said, i am going to see my president. they said, don't stop in oxford. he said, i want. he did whatever he had to do. i think ernest just really atomized so many -- it atomized mized so many of the black newspapers who paid a huge price to tell the story of the brutality of the segregated south at a time before the south had been discovered by daily newspapers. >> andrew young, let me ask you a question. dorothy is raising this thought about how the black press would cover the segregated south. how did the white press coverage?
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>> well, when dr. king went to jail in birmingham at the height pagee movement, it was on 34 of the birmingham post and it was about that big. in birminghamon would cover anything we were doing. they would not even an ounce our meeting. -- announce our meeting. all of our demonstrations were before noon. we had instructions from the walter cronkite show that they theto be on a plane flying film back to washington by 1:00. it was no accident. it was a very well coordinated effort, and we understood that the three dying minutes -- three minutes a night that we would get on the three networks woods -- was educational television.
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trying toup nights figure out how we were going to dramatize a specific issue related to segregation. clear, were you seeking violence in order to get on the news? >> no, we were not seeking violence. we didn't have to seek violence. [laughter] we did everything we could. we did everything we could to avoid violence. southed 10 years and the and didn't get injured once. but we do things like go to an employment office of a department store and ask for a job, and they would say they didn't hire negroes or colored people. we would simply kneel down on our knees and pray. they would come and arrest us
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and take us to jail. then, the next day, we might go to a bank. they didn'twhile, even want us marching downtown. they would arrest everybody right at the edge of kelly ingram park. when the students got very creative, and the black middle class stood up in birmingham in a very interesting way. they would bring their cadillacs and lincoln's to the back of the churches and we would put five or six kids in a church and put the picket signs in the trunk of the car and they would drive around to the other side of town and let the kids out to march in from another direction. the idea was to get everybody -- to have a jail and.
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-- jail in. we wanted so many people rebelling against education that the jails couldn't hold them. that was the message of birmingham. dr. king said, a man can't ride your back unless you bend over and let him. we had cooperated with segregation, so noncooperation with evil is as important as cooperation with good. we withdrew all economic support for 90 days. citizens of goodwill, black and white, didn't buy anything but food and medicine in birmingham. that was about 300,000 people not shopping. the economy collapsed and these demonstrations simply enforced it and dramatized to the nation what was going on. >> fantastic story. about your, tell us
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personal encounters with segregation. >> first, i was a publicly director so i don't with the media everyday and i was just saying to my class last night, 52 i if you call 404- remember it now, you get the associated press in atlanta. one of my students piled that number and the answer was, associated press. it stuck up here. i grew up in the segregated andh until i was about 17 my family moved to pennsylvania. we lived in fort valley, georgia. and aas a black world harsh world outside of the confines of the college. my parents tried as best they could to shield their children from this and so i can't say anything harsh happens to me during this.
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but i always felt as if something harsh was around the corner. i remember when emmett till was killed. wasas a young black kid who alleged to have flirted with a white woman in a grocery store. he was from chicago so he wasn't familiar with southern ways of life. he may have done this or may not. we don't know. husband and her husband's friend came to the boy's uncle's house two nights later, took him away, bm -- beat him, killed him and tied his body to a fan and threw it in the water. the body was found. the men were arrested. it became a sensation. his mother did something that most mothers would not do. the body was horrible looking, but ernest withers had taken a picture of this ugly, ugly, gross body. said, i am going to
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let the coffin stay open. i want these people to see what they did to my boy. it was on the front of jet magazine. every black person in america who read jet magazine saw this ugly picture and other people saw it to and it just told the world how ugly the system was and how harsh it could be even to a child. first -- not entertainment, it was my first exposure to the rigors of segregation. it was horrific because he was my age and i thought, if this can happen to him, why can't it happen to me? >> it could. >> in fact, we used to joke about it. in the black community was that he really didn't say anything, he just looked. we used to say you can get killed for reckless eyeballing. there actually was a fellow who was beaten in north carolina who
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didn't -- the testimony was he never got within 50 feet of the young lady. something about his facial expression, they interpreted it as lustful. he was beaten publicly and those kinds of stories were in the negro press, the pittsburgh --rier, the louisiana weekly >> it was almost as if the daily press didn't discover black 1954 when thefter desegregation of schools brought up the issue of integration. then, of course, it followed with the civil rights coverage. >> but then, they really squelched it. they didn't report it. >> i agree, but at least they discovered something other than blacks as criminals. >> i would be curious on this
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side of the panel. collegeabout morehouse and in a way, what does it do now? does it deal with civil rights question or do you have classes on it? are there people who come there and talk as we have just heard this evening, talk about segregation? tell us your knowledge of what you lead at this point. i am honored to be president of morehouse now. it is a transformational place. , as a graduate of morehouse, transformed the world, but we shouldn't forget that in order for him to do that, he had to first be transformed himself. morehouse college did that. reading at an eighth-grade level when he entered college. been well served by
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the atlanta public school system. ready andgot him phd on the path to becoming the brilliant person he became. so, when i think about morehouse yes we are i say is, still quite a steep and interested and we drive at peace and justice. it is still in our curriculum and we plan to expand it under my leadership. we are also trying to create the martin luther king of biology, thatstry, of the fields are so relevant today. people who can go into a field or an area and fundamentally changed the game because that is what he did in the civil rights movement. >> marvin, even as long ago as
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when i was in college, i was taught by dr. king. he taught a course in philosophy with the man who had taught him philosophy. if you see somebody who says, i was a student of dr. king and she or he is not one of those eight, they are telling a big lie. [laughter] i was not one of those eight, but i was his student. i have a greater appreciation of morehouse then i think most morehouse men do. maize was a sharecropper and he felt that leadership had to understand ordinary people. martin luther king and maynard know ifand, i don't you've gotten to that or not, but he used to send them to the packer fields. he said, if you're going to lead working people, you have to know what work is. martin spent a summer crawling
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in the dirt under a three foot tobacco net in connecticut. he could have gotten jobs from coca-cola or delta. but he felt that the grassroots experience of dealing with the plight of the ordinary negro as we would say than, had to be understood by the leaders. i think that when you look at maynard jackson's view of what he has done for atlanta as the first black mayor, it is totally different from any other black mayor anywhere in the country. >> can i say that i am a morehouse man? [laughter] gave me anehouse honorary degree so i get to claim it, right? [applause] >> i will ask the president of the united states. >> but i didn't have to climb
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underneath the nets to get it. what i saw standing there that day looking out at that sea of faces on the lawn was one of the most inspiring things i have ever seen. educated young black men setting out to change the world. they are not what we often say they are. everybody is talking about segregation. there is still segregation. undergraduate schools, elementary schools are as segregated as possible. residential segregation continues 50 years after the march, 60 years after brown. the idea that we don't still have a fight, that we don't have weething to tackle and that still need to train up another generation -- frankly, i think eager young people need to tackle this. for thebeen doing this last couple weeks about the march on washington. everybody has.
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i tell you how many times, till's name has come up. that is what radicalized so many people. they made them think, this could be made. in the same way trayvon martin made people think, this could be my child. it resonates then and now. >> and the president of the united states were the one who said this could have been him. i am getting all kinds of signals here but i haven't a clue at this point what it exactly means. i hope it means that congressman -- >> is a morehouse man? >> commerce mandalas. -- congressman lewis. [applause]
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>> 1-234-567-8910. >> ok. three, four >> let me share with you. we are going to start our regular program in one minute. [laughter] we are delighted to have you here today sir. >> delighted to be here, thank you.
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>> the kalb report is funded by the ethics and essence in journalism foundation.
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-- excellence in journalism foundation. ♪ >> from the national press club in washington dc, this is the kalb report with marvin kalb. [applause] >> hello and welcome to the national press club and to another edition of the kalb report. i am marvin kalb and our program tonight is remembering a march, a movement and a dream. the march on washington for jobs and freedom as it was officially called 50 years ago on august 28, 1963. the civil rights movement and what has dominated our headlines
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began to touch our national conscience. the i have a dream speech by martin luther king, one of the most powerful speeches in american history. many feared the march would turn violent, but it was in fact amazingly peaceful. here in black-and-white, on reality,n, and in 250,000 people bound together in a march for jobs, equality, thatce, probably up to time the largest demonstration on the washington mall ever. i was there to help cover this ofry, one in a small army cbs reporters. i remember being aware as i looked out at that spoke to -- swelling crowd, that this was more than a news story. it was a special moment in our national history open to the world. before, if itoned
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goes well, it will be heard throughout the world. you are as open here on this march as we were when we talked openly and freely about -- if they go well, it is a tribute to democracy. back to you. gray andrs later, i am the world, i hope is wiser about inflammatory issues such as racial and economic injustice. for a discussion of the march, the movement and the dream, we are joined by three civil rights leaders, two journalists, and one college president. to my far left, only in geography, john wilson, the president of morehouse college. the only private liberal arts college in the country dedicated to the education of african american men.
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for four years, wilson served president obama as the executive director of the white house initiative on historically black colleges and universities. he has also held top positions at the massachusetts institute of technology and the george washington university. to my far right, again, only younger fee, and for young. -- andrew young. to dr.a close aide martin luther king. he helped organize the march on washington. he was a former congressman, mayor of atlanta, and ambassador to the united nations. he is currently a professor at the andrew young school of policy studies at your estate university. --my left, glen hoeffel, and iffil, reporter managing editor of pbs's washington week. she has covered seven presidential campaigns,
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vice presidential debates. before that, she worked for nbc, the new york times, and the washington post. in this business, she is regarded as one of the best. , one ofght, julian bond the leaders of the civil rights movement while a student at morehouse college. the studentund nonviolent coordinating committee. in 1998, he was elected chairman of the naacp, the national association for the advancement of colored people. he was also elected to the georgia house and senate. he has been a radio and television commentator and is currently a professor at both american university and the university of virginia. to my immediate left, a man often described as the conscience of the u.s. congress, john lewis, a congressman from georgia since 1986. at age 23, one of the first to
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speak at the march on washington. -- the onlyd surviving speaker. he took a role in organizing sit in demonstrations, citing jim or laws, gettingrow arrested and severely beaten time and time again, trying always to this day to build what he calls "a beloved community in america." to my immediate right, dorothy gilliam, former president of the national association of black journalists. after a number of reporting jobs with black newspapers and magazines, she joined the washington post in 1961, the first black female journalist at the paper. she has been a fellow at the freedom forum in columbia, at the institute of politics at harvard, and that the george washington university school of media and public affairs. memoriesart with the of those among the leaders in
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the march on washington. , after so muchis violence against you personally, and against many others in the black community, how did you come to feel that nonviolence was the way to go? nashvilleudent in during the late 50's and early 60's, we were taught the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. at 6:30esday night p.m., a small group of students would come together and we would study the teachings of gandhi. wikia compassed in india. we would study the role of civil disobedience. we studied the great religions of the world. it had a wonderful teacher but a
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name of jim lawson. he infused us with the way of nonviolence. many of us, during the early days, except that nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living, not simply as a technique or tactic. it became the way of the national movement. >> thank you, sir. ambassador young, i think all of us who were at the march realized that we were experiencing something very special. i wonder what it was about the march that left you moved. >> in the first place, coming out of birmingham, we didn't think much of the march. we thought the movement was in the streets and we had 5000 students take over the city. we collapsed the economy. we got an agreement from 100 businessmen to change the segregation laws of birmingham. we figured the fight was over
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for us. this was a sunday school picnic. the students in birmingham who got out of jail wanted to do i march on washington like gandhi's march to the sea. they wanted to get out on highway 11 and ticket town by town. randolph thatip appeal to dr. king and sent bayard rustin down to try to talk little sense into us. we were what you used to call freedom high. bayard makes sense, but there was nobody in birmingham that was particularly enthusiastic about the march on washington. main, who was probably the ideologist assigned the march, wouldn't even come. i was not coming until dr. king called and said, you and dean better get on a plane. militantkind of
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arrogance. that infected us. >> and the market itself? >> the march itself, i was worried -- the march itself? >> the march itself, i was worried that it wouldn't do anything. there was not a lot of harmony. the naacp and the urban league didn't want the march. for different reasons. it didn't look like it was going to be fun until the people started. when the people -- i was out there on the lawn at 7:00 in the morning when the buses started coming in. when they started coming in and , from justedom songs , you every direction couldn't hold back the tears. you realized that this was
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something special, and what i think it did was, it took a and withblack movement andkind of imaging television, it made it a global phenomena. >> julian bond, you were talking about sncc a moment ago. so impatient for justice, and yet your leaders seemed to be preaching patience, appealing to white america to catch up, to get the message. i was wondering if you yourself felt at some point that it wasn't going to happen? no, i have always been an optimistic person. i always believe the best can happen. usually, so far anyway, it has happened. i have always believed the best can happen. andy is right. weree in our organizations suspicious of the march on
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washington. we thought it was a diversion from what we have been doing. we were organizers. we went to the rural south and help people who had the courage to register to vote. we thought the march on washington would take us away from this kind of activity. had a feeling that andy did. -- the mall mel early in the morning and didn't see anybody. people came and the numbers grew and grew and became something greater than anything i had anticipated it would be. , and an orallliam history that you gave, you painted a very smart -- stark picture of segregated america. you spoke of old nasty gated racist whites, there look of hatred toward you and other blacks, the culture you said was to kill a black person if they made a misstep. that the march
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would've come bush very much? accomplish- would very much? >> i felt the march was a important show of the determination of black america way,omething better, a new a change that had to come. one of the reasons that -- such a, io thought a quiet focused crowd, there wasn't a lot of noise and chatter. -- on the speeches, on the purpose. so i really felt that this march, especially in the chain of events of 1963, even as it goinged, was crucial and to lead to something important. girl livinga little
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up north in relative security. >> buffalo, new york. >> what were your memories of the march on washington and what to do pickup at the dinner table? andy father was a minister probably like your father and all like ministers, they claimed to march with king. [laughter] the bus and came down with the preachers and they marched in the march. familyare the kind of that sat in front of the television all the time and were made to watch history. that is probably why i am a journalist today. we were not allowed to go play if there was news happening. in this case, we saw us. we saw our expressions. we were probably too young to fully understand what that meant, but we knew it was important and that somewhere out there dad was there. there had to be something to that. to me, the interesting thing about the marches was that it
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was 20 years in the making, and 50 years later, we are still assessing whether the demands that were made were met. the red man's. it wasn't just a picnic -- there were demands. it wasn't just a picnic. it was a set of goals. it was a set of things that were measurable. , talked today about the march about the civil rights movement. a we talked about how america has moved in fifty-year blanks when it comes to talking about race and segregation. from james madison to abraham lincoln and the gettysburg address, to woodrow wilson who rolled back progress by segregating the federal workforce, and then the march. when you start looking at the way we have evolved over time, it is not just a march. 1964, int in 1963 and
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part because the march changed the way people look at the wasment, lyndon johnson able to pass a civil rights bill within a year and a voting rights bill the following year. this is something -- and john kennedy's heart was changed because as john lewis mentioned to me, he wasn't feeling this at all. until the big six went into his office and told him, you have to feel this, we are going to do it anyway. when you watch how quickly things evolved and how slowly things change now, it is remarkable to look back and see how much happened in such a short -- changing hearts and minds as well as laws. >> what you are saying is that the march had a profound affect on the legislation that followed within a year or two bank. effect ona tremendous people who didn't realize the scope of the problem because it didn't affect them. the salt called it faces in the crowd connecting.
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>> dorothy had a rather bleak vision of america is of her experiences. i am wondering, what was yours? >> our experience was, we had to be better than everybody else. my parents were immigrants. we were people who chose to be americans. the idea of coming to this country and making a decision to transplant your family to make your life better was great. that itwere also taught didn't come to you just like that. you had to work for it. you couldn't sit back and expect it. you have to excel in order to get the same thing. and, i learned many years later that sometimes it helps to be underestimated. [laughter] >> dr. wilson, at morehouse college these days when your students think about the march on washington, are they thinking just about the king speech or about the message of that day? >> i think they think about both. i need to tell my story 2 --
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too. i am a preacher doesn't it. [laughter] kid.eacher's [laughter] i was five or six at the time of the march. my grandmother had written the shoulders of her mother to go here marcus garvey and then she showed up at the march on washington. i heard a lot about it, heard those stories. those stories are still alive and well on the campus of morehouse college. there is an investment in the peace and justice tradition at and i stand on the shoulders of the giant who had so much to do behind-the-scenes with everything that we are talking about today. it is probably an impossible question and forgive me, but do
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you see another martin luther king among your students? hope so. we are certainly trying to shape the morehouse undergraduate experience to produce the martin luther king of chemistry, --logy and another murder and a number of other fields. firsthought we had the white president of south africa after mandela at morehouse last year. there was a kid who had been there for years from south africa who was white, who totally immersed himself into everything about morehouse and martin luther king, and it was obvious that he was preparing himself to go back to africa. we also have 10 students from zimbabwe. they were sent by zimbabwe .usinessmen, paid all the way
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spelman10 women to because he said he wants the next generation of leaders in his companies in africa to have an african-american experience. >> congressman lewis, on the day of the march, you had to edit your speech to sort of tone down some of its more passionate demands in order to satisfy some of your more cautious colleagues. as you look back upon that now, do you think you made a mistake? should you have kept to your original demand? >> the speech, and julian bond can tell you more about this because he was our communication person and he had made advance copies of my speech available. but, it was a strong speech. proposed aennedy had civil rights bill.
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in my original text, i said the bill proposed by the president was too little and too late. further in the bill, i was reading a copy of the newspaper. i saw a group of black women in southern africa carrying signs saying one man, one vote. during my march on washington speech, i said something like one man, one vote is the african cry. the kennedy administration took the position that if a person he should beion -- considered illiterate -- literate and allowed to vote. we took the position that the only qualification for being registered to vote in our country, especially in the south, should be that of age and residency. people, one man, one vote.
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so you tell us to wait. you tell us to be patient. we cannot wait. we cannot be patient. we want our freedom and we want it now. we have prepared a speech that represented the feeling and the attitude of the people that we were working with, but also the theg people that made up student nonviolent coordinating committee. at one point, i said, listen, mr. president, listen members of congress. you are trying to take the revolution out of the streets. i went on and on in this speech and said, we are involved in a serious revolution. they wanted me to drop referenced revolution and mr. rendell said, i use it myself sometimes. [laughter] then i said, the party of
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kennedy is the party of eastland. jarvis, ae party of liberal senator from new york is the party of cold water. where is our party? said, i want to know which side of the federal government on? at the end of the speech, what people really didn't like [laughter] the diocese ofof washington was supposed to give an invocation and he threatened not to give the invocation if i didn't change it. it said, if we do not see meaningful progress today, the day may come when we will not confine our march on washington. we may be forced to march through the south the way sherman did nonviolently. [laughter] they said that was inflammatory.
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mr. randolph, wonderful man said, john, can we change this? dr. king intimate and said, john, that doesn't sound like you. no to a. philip randolph and dr. martin luther king jr.. , i loveo individuals them. we changed that and near the end i avoided making any reference to sherman are marching on the south. i said, if we do not see meaningful progress, we will march through virginia, through mississippi and several other places. do your a member? >> are a member all that. -- i remember all that. i was donated to the march on washington committee and my task
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was distributing john's speech, the original speech to murmurs of the press who were seated down below lincoln, still above on the steps. i passed out these copies of john's speech and pointed out to them, that john would be the only speaker speaking that day who talk about black people instead of negroes or colored people as was the fashion. i thought and we thought that this demonstrated how militant we were and how different we were and better and superior we were from the other civil rights organizations. none of the reporters made any objection. [laughter] >> what did you mean by militant? >> i meant aggressive. nothing harmful or violent. i have always been upset by people who say, they are so militant. they equate it with violence. it is not necessarily equitable with violence. it just means somebody is it aggressively in pursuit of his ideas. we thought we were more militant than all the other groups gathered there.
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>> what was the magic of dr. king? jr., moreluther king than any other leader of our time, have the capacity and the ability to get people to share the vision. the day he spoke, he delivered a speech and he started preaching. he delivered a sermon also. he got done and said, i have a dream today, a dream deeply rooted in the american dream. he knew he was preaching. he turned those marble steps of the lincoln memorial into a modern-day pulpit. the real speech, and i downloaded it here to show off. [laughter]
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in a sense, we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. when the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and declaration of independence, they were signing a promissory --e to which every american this note was a promise that all men, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. it is obvious today that america has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as the citizens of color are concerned. this, theyhonoring have given the negro a bad check marked insufficient funds. that was totally ignored by the press. that was the message of jobs and freedom.
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that is still the message. >> if i could just -- >> i want to take a minute to remind our radio and television isiences that this remembering the march, the movement, and the dream of congressman
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